The practice of illegally hunting and capturing wild animals, or poaching, is not just an issue in countries in Africa or the forests of South America. Poaching is a matter that even the United States is currently dealing with.
Poaching is usually done in order to collect and sell trophies or body parts that can be eaten or are believed to have cures. The animals that are affected the most in the U.S are black bears, bighorn sheep, sharks and deer.
Certain organs, like gallbladders, of black bears are often sold on the black market to Eastern countries. Some suspect that the organ and its bile can treat certain illnesses. Because hunting black bears is legal in many states, it is very hard to keep track of the unlawful killing and trading.
In response to this trade, so far 34 states have outlawed the trading of bear bile and gallbladders. Any trade that is done legally needs to be done with licensed fur traders and permits.
Several other solutions have been suggested to help black bears also. Since bile is a main item of trade, the idea is that there could be a synthesized or herbal product that could substitute. This could minimize the demand for the illegally harvested substance, thus helping black bears.
Around 100 million sharks die yearly because of poaching. Shark fin soup is a popular delicacy in many Asian cultures, and because of this, shark finning is a major issue here. This practice involves cutting the fins off sharks, throwing them back into the water to die to avoid bringing the animal to a port, surpassing fishing quotas.
Shark finning is illegal in U.S waters, however it still continues to be traded throughout the country. In effort to end this corrupt practice, many organizations have petitioned to pass more laws regarding this issue. The agency Defenders of Wildlife works in many states, including California and New York, to help fix the problem. In 2011, the group, along with many others, were able to have the governor of California pass a law in order to ban the trade, possession and sale of shark fins in that state. Worldwide efforts are still in progress as well to safeguard these ecologically important animals.
Many animals are affected by poaching in the United states. Bears for their gallbladders, bighorn sheep for all sorts of trophies and sharks for their fins. There are numerous organizations that work to help these animals, and their efforts do not go unnoticed. Laws have been passed, and bans have been placed. There is still a long way to go, however, so that this illegal hunting and trading can be stopped.