Wildlife smuggling or trafficking involves the illegal gathering, transportation, and distribution of animals and their derivatives, and this occurs both internationally and domestically. The reasons for wildlife trade vary. Some do this for the purposes of traditional medicine, some keep non-domesticated animals as pets, some slaughter wildlife animals for clothing, apparel, etc. Illegal wildlife trade generally occurs due to strict regulations on the trade in certain species or the complete ban on extracting some animals from the wild. There are other causes of wildlife trafficking, for instance, the lack of laws also serves as one of the reasons for such practices. When the law takes place in a certain jurisdiction, the punishments may not be high enough to stop or at least reduce illegal activity. With that being said, for instance, in India, the fine ranges from approximately INR 10 000 - 25 000 (USD 133 - 333.5) and 7-10 years of imprisonment. However, such penalties may not be sufficient because of poor prosecution. The problem with illegal wildlife trade and its regulations is ineffective monitor and control over poachers and black markets, insufficient prosecution by the authorities, and sometimes even corruption. The latter is especially common in Asian countries.
Another reason is that there are thousands of undocumented species that may be traded legally in the international market contrary to the national laws. There has been much clarity about which species are considered endangered. Despite being on the verge of extinction some species are being hunted commercially on a large scale because of unclear documentation. For example, these species include abalones in Africa and whales in the Antarctic.
And, of course, the use of animals and their body parts in medicine may not be skipped as one of the primary reasons for both illegal and legal wildlife trade. “Right from being used in medicines to making a carpet and rug, the usage of the wildlife trade is so diverse that sometimes it’s hard to tackle it on such a big scale. Knowing one source of illegal trade and stopping it is possible but investigating thousands of sources is bound to leave some fronts unmanned. To provide a glimpse of the scale of wildlife trafficking, there are records of over 100 million tonnes of fish, 1.5 million live birds, and 440,000 tonnes of medicinal plants in trade in just one year, despite strict laws in our country. Countries in the African sub-continent are the worst affected, with Asian wildlife declining following it. In India, the illegal trade includes diverse products such as Mongoose hair; Rhino horn, snake skins, Tiger and Leopard claws, bones, skins, whiskers; Elephant tusks; Deer antlers; Shahtoosh shawl; Turtle shells; Musk pods; Bear bile; medicinal plants; timber and caged birds such as Parakeets, Mynas, Munias, etc. The majority of these illegally obtained parts are meant for the international market and has no direct demand in India.”