Illegal Animal Poaching and Wildlife Trade


Alicia Riviere,

Urban Assembly-Academy for Future Leaders



Animals are very crucial to our planet’s biodiversity and ecosystem. In addition, millions of people depend on exotic wildlife since tourists travel to their villages to marvel at species including pandas, tigers, lions and elephants. Unfortunately, hundreds of wildlife species have become threatened during recent times. Several factors impact the endangerment of wild animal species, including climate change, deforestation, poaching and illegal trade. According to the IUCN, “there are over 30,000 endangered species.”


Imagine that you are high school students interested in entering a National Geographic competition. Six winning groups will travel and spend 3 weeks (Summer of 2021) investigating animal poaching and illegal wildlife trade in a nation in Africa, South America or Asia.  


Your project has to be extremely creative, have solid resources and provide a clear, coherent message highlighting the social problem to bring awareness to the issue.     Don’t forget, there are many other schools submitting projects, so yours MUST go above and beyond!


As responsible world citizens and students, you have the opportunity to research the important global problem of animal poaching/wildlife trade. 


Your group will create and present a Google Slides Presentation that includes the PPA Process to examine the main causes, realities, effects and strategies to stop animal poaching/wildlife trade. 


*Regions of Focus


-Group 1- Africa



Illegal poaching of elephants in South Africa.



-Group 2- Asia

Tigers caged in a zoo at the Kings Romans casino complex in Laos.


Illegal capturing of tigers in Thailand, Southeast Asia.



-Group 3- South America


Illegal trade of wildlife bird species (Blue-headed parrots) in Northern Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest region.


-The class will be divided into 3 groups focusing on Africa, Asia or South America.  


-Each group will have 3-4 class members.


-Each research group will have to create & present a Google Slides Presentation examining the global social problem of animal poaching/wildlife trade in a specific continent. 


-Each presentation will include the Six Steps of the Public Policy Analyst Model. 


-Remember to review the Sample PPA Presentation that I modeled in class, so that you can familiarize yourselves with the project requirements.


-Each group should read and summarize relevant information from 3-4 of the online articles, videos and other materials under the “Resources” section.


Six Steps of the Public Policy Analyst Model (PPA)


1- Define the Problem: Background Information of the Problem


2- Gather the Evidence


3- Identify the Causes and Effects


4- Evaluate an Existing Policy: Advantages and Disadvantages of this Policy


5- Develop Solutions: Create 2-3 New, Original Alternative Policies


6- Select the Best Solution: Feasibility vs. Effectiveness Graph

Vocabulary Terms


The Definition-according to the Encyclopedia Britannica @


“Extinction, in biology, is the dying out or extermination of a species. Extinction occurs when species are diminished because of environmental forces (habitat fragmentation, global change, natural disaster, overexploitation of species for human use) or because of evolutionary changes in their members (genetic inbreeding, poor reproduction, decline in population numbers).”



-Endangered species

The Definition-according to the Online Dictionary @


“Endangered species: a plant or animal species existing in such small numbers that it is in danger of becoming extinct, especially such a species placed in jeopardy as a result of human activity.” 



-Wildlife Trade

The Definition-according to the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime @


“Wildlife trafficking involves the illegal trade, smuggling, poaching, capture, or collection of endangered species, protected wildlife (including animals or plants that are subject to harvest quotas and regulated by permits), derivatives, or products thereof.” 



-Animal Poaching

The Definition-according to the Legal Dictionary @


“Animal poaching is the act of hunting or capturing animals illegally. Usually, this practice leads to the killing of endangered animals, which leads to their eventual extinction.”



-For All Groups

“What Is Poaching?”Author: Doris Lin, 5/30/2019 @ Treehugger-Sustainability For All

*Documentary Film: “Virunga” (2014): can be seen on Netflix AND for free at

This documentary tells the story of a small team of park rangers—including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a caretaker of orphan gorillas, and a dedicated conservationist—fighting to protect Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


“Poaching Animals, Facts and Information”, 2/12/19 @ National Geographic-Magazine


“Wildlife Trade 101”, Facts and Information”

-Author: Chia-Yi Hou @ NRDC, 8/15/19


“Illegal Wildlife Trade”-Information on the Website of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service


“Films celebrate big cats on World Wildlife Day

-Author: Erik Hoffner @ Mongabay, 2/19/2018

Resources for

Group # 1



“A Brief History of Poaching in Africa: How the Controversial Practice Started -Author: Angela Thompsell, 1/29/2020 @ 


Video: “Google Drones Curb Illegal Poaching in Africa” (the Video is under the Article) 


Filthy bloody business: Poachers kill more animals as coronavirus crushes tourism to Africa -Author: Emma Newburger, 4/24/2020 @ CNBC.Com 


Global wildlife trafficking still a ‘lucrative criminal activity,’ expert says”-Author: Genevieve Belmaker, 9/20/2018 @ Mongabay-Online Magazine


Legal and illegal trade negatively impacting survival and wellbeing of Africa’s wildlife: Report”, 10/9/2019 @ Mongabay-Online Magazine


The Fight Against Elephant Poachers Is Going Commando”

-Author: Joshua Hammer, June 2016 @ Smithsonian-Online Magazine


Rhino Forensics Used to Track Down Poachers and Traffickers -Author: Katarina Zimmer, 1/8/2018 @ The Scientist-Online Magazine

Resources for

Group # 2



“Illegal trade of Philippine pangolins is surging, report shows

-Author: Elizabeth Claire Alberts, 8/4/2020 @ Mongabay-Online Magazine


“Wildlife Trafficking in Asia -Author: Maylis, 7/8/2020 @ Globalteer Online Magazine


“Asian Songbirds: Putting an End to Illegal Trapping and Unsustainable Pet Trade”

-Information on the “What We Do” Tab @ Traffic- Wildlife Trade Specialists- website


“Poaching spikes amid lockdown in South Asia”, 6/4/2020 @ China Dialogue

-Authors: Abhaya Raj Joshi, Nazmun Naher Shishir, Neha Sinha, Adeel Saeed


“Wildlife under Threat From Asia’s Poaching Crisis-In Pictures”, 2/5/2015 @ The Guardian


“Traded to Extinction: Portraits of Poaching in Asia”-Author: Bryan Walsh,  2/17/2014 @ Time Magazine

Resources for

Group # 3


-South America

“Poaching Threatens South America’s Only Bear Species”, 5/31/2019 -Author: Eduardo Franco Berton @ National Geographic


“Poaching in Latin America: A Common Threat” -Author: David, 7/27/2017 @ Natucate 


“Poaching Upsurge Threatens South America's Iconic Vicuña”, 11/24/2015 -Author: Rachel Nuwer @ Scientific American 


“Wildlife Trafficking: A Reporter Follows the Lucrative, Illicit, and Heartrending Trade in Stolen Wild Animals Deep Into Ecuador’s Rainforest -Author: Charles Bergman, December 2009 @ Smithsonian-Online Magazine  


“Crime fighting NGO tracks Brazil wildlife trade on WhatsApp and Facebook”  -Author: Peter Yeung, 11/23/2020 @ Mongabay-Online Magazine


“Bans on the bird trade in South America yield mixed results” -Author: John Cannon, 1/24/2019 @ Mongabay-Online Magazine






Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.



Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.



Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).



Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.


In conclusion, by using the Six Steps of the Public Policy Analyst Model (PPA), each group will investigate the global phenomenon of animal poaching and wildlife trade. Your group’s Google Slides Presentation will include several components such as providing background information about the issue of concern, identifying the main causes and effects of the focus problem and researching existing policies. You will finalize your project by proposing your own solutions to the problem.


Historians, after you complete this group project, you will become experts in using the PPA-Steps while exploring a social issue!!