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The extent of illegal wildlife activity ranks among the top five largest transnational crimes in the world today. It threatens species, community and global security.


  • Narwhal – often referred to as ‘Unicorn’ Whales, have been hunted for their rare tusks.    Narwhals use their nerve-filled tusks as a sensory organ and to communicate.  (Discovery)
  • Slow Lorises: Giant-eyed, two-tongued, venomous primates known as slow lorises
  • Elephants: Poached for their ivory tusks which have “great aesthetic value”. They are intimidating into traps or pitfalls and the tusks are painfully detached. The elephant is then left to die.
  • Tigers: Their bones have medicinal value and powdered tiger bones are prescribed in for strengthening muscles. Their skin is used to make bags and coats.
  • Rhinoceros: Their horns are believed to have aphrodisiac properties and are widely used in traditional medicines. Like elephants, they are driven into traps for their ivory horns.
  • Tibetan Antelopes: They are poached for their fur, which is commonly used as a light wool, and is in great demand world-wide. 20,000 Chirus, as they are called, are killed each year.
  • Sturgeon or Paddlefish: Often poached for their eggs to make caviar.
  • Gorillas: Gorilla poaching isn’t commonly heard about. They are poached for their meat, capture for collections, and and trophies. Collectors and trophie holders are after gorilla hands, feet, skins, skulls, as well as gorilla infants.
  • Porbeagle: The Porbeagle is a type of shark that lives in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They are poached for their meat and fertilizer uses.
  • Spiny Dogfish: This species of shark is for it’s valuable meat. They live in world coastal waters and usually travel in schools.
  • Red and Pink Coral: This is the most valuable type of coral, known for its use in jewelry and decorations. Not only does the poaching of coral effect coral population but it also effects the population of coral reefs and fish.
  • European Eel: They are poached because of their valuable meat and large international demand.
  • Great Apes: Great Apes include gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans. They are killed for their meat, illegal trade, disturbance and destruction of land, and disease and habitat control.
  • Sea Turtles: Sea Turtles are often poached for their meat and eggs. Poachers trick the turtles into nesting on the beach, while they are actually walking right into a trap.
  • Blue Whale: Blue Whales have almost been hunted to extinction. They are poached for their blubber and oil, which are then used in candles and fuel.

pangolin. Picture an armadillo dressed up as an artichoke.


It’s called the Pangolin. Picture an armadillo dressed up as an artichoke. Strangely enough though, it is not closely related to either. The pangolin and armadillo’s resemblance is a prime example of convergent evolution, where two species evolve separately, but turn out functionally alike because they are adapted to similar environments. In this case, that means digging burrows and eating ants and termites. The artichoke resemblance is probably more of a coincidence.

Despite these similarities, the pangolin is amazingly unique. It is from a distinct lineage of mammals dating back to when dinosaurs roamed the earth around 80 million years ago (human lineages date back to less than a tenth of that time). It is the only mammal on Earth that is covered in scales. These form a very effective protection against natural predators: When attacked, the pangolin rolls itself into a ball and the sharp scales form a nearly impenetrable armor.  

A second defense involves emitting a noxious acid that will probably never be in the running for World’s Best Smell.  (