Every year, there are hundreds of millions of animals and plants that are taken from the wild and then sold to the public. Much of this is fine, as it is legal and does not harm wild populations of flora and fauna. However, a large percentage of it is actually illegal and potentially very harmful to endangered species that are out there.
Overexploitation is actually the second largest direct threat to a variety of species, the first being loss of habitat. There are many things that drive people to trade wildlife—they not only bring pets to people illegally, but they also set up exchanges for animal products, such as animal skins or clothing made from animals.
As the human population grows, overexploitation is becoming worse as the demand for wildlife grows along with the human population. Overexploitation is the most prominent problem associated with illegal pet trade, as it can truly threaten the survival of a species. The recent overexploitation of wildlife has affected many species come including rhinoceroses, tigers, elephants, and many more.
Wildlife is very important to the lives of people all over the planet. Many people in the developing world actually depend entirely on wildlife for all of their resources, including fuel, meat protein, and more. As such, tampering with natural wildlife populations can harm human livelihoods.
Additionally, it harms the balance of nature. If certain species are overexploited, it will end up throwing off the balances and their habitats. It does not only affect that species, but many other species that inhabit the area as well. It is particularly problematic when there is a demand for a rare and protected species that needs to be smuggled in order to avoid paying duties. In the case of illegal wildlife trade, many of the involve species are highly endangered, and the conditions for transport of these animals are likely to be worse.
In addition, the ways in which the animals were obtained are likely to be more harmful to the surrounding environments. The wildlife trade also often involves the introduction of invasive species into the environments from which other species were removed, which upsets the balance of nature and can be devastating to a habitat.
Additionally, the illegal pet trade undermines the efforts of countries to protect their own natural resources.