Many poachers come from very poor countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, and poaching is one of few ways to provide enough from their family. One reason poaching is so lucrative is that people will pay a lot for exotic ingredients, like rhino horn, to use in traditional Chinese medicine.
Endangered animal trafficking is a very lucrative business, generating as much as $500 million per year by some estimates, with the funds coming from criminal organizations and private collectors. The local hunters often make little money on the sales – for instance, a Melro bird, an exotic bird native to Brazil, is often sold in Rio de Janeiro for $27, but in Europe for $2,500. Sadly, as long as people are willing to purchase animals that are endangered, the industry will be funded.
It all starts (though ends) with the people who buy the animals and parts. If no one bought rare and illegal animals or parts, then there would be no reason for local hunters to hunt, or traders to make thousands of dollars.
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