WARNING - GRAPHIC IMAGES. Unscrupulous investors, speculating on the disappearance of rare animals, and increased demand for animal products from Asia are pushing endangered animals into extinction. Worldwide, the illegal trade in endangered animals is booming. No longer just the work of individuals or small gangs, it is now dominated by well-organised and equipped international cartels. Wildlife poaching has become the most lucrative illegal business, after the trade in drugs and weapons.