The depletion of megafauna can significantly impact ecological processes involving vegetation, hydrology, nutrient cycling and firebreaks; this in turn has detrimental cascading effects for other species.
As rhino and elephant populations dwindle so to will the ecosystem services that they provide.
Elephants and rhinos are the architects of the landscape – 'ecological engineers' that create conditions essential for the survival of numerous other animals. Therefore, the negative impact of poaching extends far beyond the obvious harm to target species.
In addition to the profoundly negative impacts for endangered species, ecosystem stability and biodiversity, the illegal trade in wildlife also leads to civil conflict and the exploitation of institutional weakness. Furthermore, the loss of the forest elephant may make earth less inhabitable for humans