Animal Trafficking: Prosecution, Fines, And Sentencing For Poaching

Poaching is easily one of the world’s most heinous acts. The mindless slaughter of animals for sport and trophies is not only threatening to the species being poached but also to any other species that use that species as a food source.

Animal Trafficking: Prosecution, Fines, And Sentencing For Poaching

Poaching just one species can have a massive knock-on effect on other species, and can even impact entire ecosystems, potentially wiping them out.

Not only that, but poaching also has a direct impact on humanity, as animals that have been poached are often sold as meat to be consumed, but those same meats can very often contain pathogens that can cause illness and disease! 

Because of its demonstrable impacts, it only stands to reason that poaching should carry with it a heavy punishment. But what actually is the punishment for poaching?

What sorts of fines and sentences are there? And how do they differ all across the world and across different continents? 

If you’ve pondered these questions yourself, then make sure to read on down below to find out everything you need to know about poaching’s legal consequences.

Is Poaching Illegal In The US?

Absolutely. Poaching of certain animal species and poaching of big game animals specifically is certainly illegal.

In terms of prosecution for the crime of poaching in the USA, perpetrators can expect to face a two-year prison sentence, as well as a massive $5,000 to $10,000 fine, depending on how endangered the species is. 

Thus, even in America, not only can poaching have a direct impact on local ecosystems, but it also carries with it a very heavy punishment that you will want to be wary of. 

What Is The Prosecution For Poaching In Asia? 

Asia is currently facing a massive poaching crisis, as the practice seems to only be growing in popularity, thanks to continued demand for rare animal products.

Species that are on the verge of extinction in Asia include the Sun Bear, which is totally extinct in countries like Singapore, and the Sunda Pangolin, which is considered to be a luxury delicacy in China.

Poaching creatures such as pandas in China can land you with a fairly significant punishment.

Anyone caught illegally killing or transporting Pandas within China will be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, as well as a very hefty fine.

Unfortunately, poaching in general within China has yet to be outright criminalized, though the act of poaching is likely to draw social ire, and has caused some legal proceedings in a few cases. 

Japan cracks down a little harder on poaching and has an imprisonment penalty of up to 3 years, and a fine that does not exceed 30 million yen.

This also applies to Singapore, in which poachers can be jailed for up to 12 months, or face a $20,000 fine. In some cases, they can even face both punishments simultaneously!

Countries like Malaysia will prosecute each individual species. The punishment in Malaysia is around a 56 million Ringgit fine, as well as a two-year prison sentence. 

Animal Trafficking: Prosecution, Fines, And Sentencing For Poaching

What Is The Prosecution For Poaching In Africa?

Unfortunately, poaching is also very common in Africa and has become a massive problem for many native species of the continent.

This is particularly worrying considering just how many species there are that are native to the continent. 

As well as this, a few countries in Africa have yet to truly take action against poaching, making it rather easy to get away with.

Within countries like South Africa, the act of poaching can land an individual with a fine of around N$200,000, reaching as high as $25,000,000, depending on the sheer severity of the case.

Prison sentences for poaching in South Africa can reach as long as 25 years! This is an incredibly severe punishment and shows that South Africa is on the right side of history when it comes to making concerted efforts toward animal conservation. 

In countries like Nigeria. The punishment for poaching is a little less severe, with illegal trafficking landing an individual with a fine of around N$5 million and up to three years in prison.

In Egypt, poaching can lead to fines of up to 200 Egyptian pounds and can lead to prison sentences that reach as high as seven years. Of course, these can differ depending on the severity of the case, as well as the species that have been poached.

Kenya actually has the most severe poaching punishment in Africa, with some poachers even facing death penalties!

This comes after many years within the country in which poaching was treated as a petty crime with minor consequences.

This shows that real change can be made to help make punishing poaching more effective, even if the death penalty may sound rather extreme!

Local Kenyan government officials believe that life sentences are not sufficient punishments, and do not deter the crime effectively. 

Ethiopia is a country that still has rather lax regulations on the crime of poaching, with those committing the act receiving, at most, a fine of up to ETB 100,000, which is around $4,800. 

There are not currently any jail sentence punishments for the crime, which is unfortunate. 

To Wrap Up 

These are just a small few of the punishments that those engaging in the act of poaching can expect to face across the world.

It would be difficult to list every potential punishment for the act, but we feel that this gives an accurate perspective of the impact that the crime can have, and what is being done to prevent it even in countries and continents in which poaching is unfortunately rife. 

Poaching is an act that can have a direct impact on animal populations, and can even lead to the outright extinction of certain species and entire ecosystems.

As such, more continents and countries need to put in a more concerted effort toward punishing the crime so that it can be more effectively deterred moving into the future. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can You Get Ivory Without Killing The Elephant?

Unfortunately not. This is why the ivory trade is such a massive problem.

The sheer scarcity of the stuff and the high prices it often earns means that people are willing to spend a lot on the stuff, making the risk of losing an elephant of little consequence to some. 

Around 20,000 elephants are killed every year in order to get a hold of ivory from the tusks. There is no way to get ivory from an elephant without killing it.

Even if you were to somehow extract ivory without killing the elephant, it would certainly be permanently scarred. 

Is Owning Old Ivory Illegal?

While it would certainly be illegal to create or acquire a newly made ivory product, older ivory products that have been passed down over the generations as heirlooms are perfectly legal to own. 

Do Elephants Feel Pain When Their Tusks Are Cut Off?

Absolutely. This is another of many reasons why the practice of extracting ivory from elephants should be curbed outright. Tusks are full of nerve endings, which makes it painful for the elephant when they are removed.

Olivia Kepner