Environmental Threats

Statistics and information about criminal threats to the environment. Illegal logging, illegal fishing, smuggling and other environmental destruction committed by organized crime is collected from wildlife charities and public information sources.

Organized crime syndicates in the Philippines reportedly pay loggers $344 (15,000 Philippine Pesos) per month to illegally cut down trees. The loggers must bring their own food and supplies and camps at the logging site.

According to criminal justice officials in the Philippines, there are around 20 syndicates that organize illegal logging activities in the country. The six main hot sports for the logging are in Bongabon, Carranglan, Gabaldon, Gen. Tinio, Laur and Pantabangan.

Source:  Ferdie G. Domingo, “Illegal loggers have financiers,” Manila Standard Today, August 2, 2013.

Wildlife conservation officials in India stated that 3 percent of people charged with wildlife trafficking crimes are convicted.

The illegal wildlife trade has been growing in India, with more smuggling cases being identified by officials.

For example, up to 4 leopards are believed to be sold each week on the black market in India.

Source:  Bagish K Jha, “Wildlife crimes getting more organized in country: Experts,” Times of India, August 1, 2013.

Over 2,500 elephants are estimated to have been killed by poachers in Mozambique between 2009 and 2012.

It was previous reported by intelligence services that poachers in Mozambique were using land mines to kill elephants for their ivory.

(Price of ivory and other wildlife trade products.)

Source:  John Yeld, “Mozambique steps up war on poaching,” Independent Online, July 31, 2013.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Mining reported that the country of South Sudan losses an estimated $200 Million per year from illicit gold smuggling.

Every day, an estimated 17 kilograms of gold is smuggled out of the country.

Source:  “South Sudan loses over $200m a year from gold smuggling,” Sudan Tribune, July 29, 2013.

In the illegal wildlife trade market in Lebanon, the price that customers can purchase a tiger is between $5,000 to $10,000, according to animal welfare charity Animal Lebanon.

In addition to tigers, other animals available on the black market of Lebanon include lion cubs, chimpanzees, crocodiles, African parrots and monkeys.

(Additional prices of black market animals.)

Source:  Rayanne Abou Jaoude, “Illegal animal trafficking running rampant in Lebanon,” Daily Star, July 31, 2013.


Half of the deforestation activities that took place in 9 forest reserves in Nigeria between 2010 and 2012 were due to marijuana cultivation.

According to a survey conducted by the Southwest/Niger Delta Forest Project, cannabis growers in the region can earn over 2 to 3 times more money that they would have earned though food crops.

(Price of marijuana around the world.)

Source:  Liz Kimbrough, “Illegal marijuana cultivation threatens Nigeria’s forests and chimps,” Mongabay.com, July 26, 2013.

Between 2010 and 2013, around 1,000 elephants were killed by poachers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The elephants are killed for their ivory which is sold on the black market in Asia.

As of 2013, there are an estimated 7,000 elephants remaining in the wild in the DRC, compared to 100,000 that were roaming the wild in the 1980s.

(See the price of wildlife on the illegal markets.)

Source:  Taylor Toeka Kakala, “Congo-Kinshasa: Soldiers Trade in Illegal Ivory,” AllAfrica, July 25, 2013.

According to security services, intelligence suggests that up to 40 kilograms of gold is smuggled into Nepal each day from China.

The gold eventually is smuggled into India.

Source:  “35 kg gold seized‚ four smugglers held,” Himalayan Times, July 10, 2013.

A gold smuggler who brings gold from Dubai to India is paid $16.82 for each 10 gram of gold that is smuggled. The smugglers are able to receive double the amount if they bring cash back to the gold agents in Dubai.

In 2012, an estimated 102 tonnes of gold was illegally smuggled in India to avoid duties. The amount of gold was equal to 10 percent of total gold imports.

Source:  “Yellow fever: Smuggling emerges as big business yet again,” First Post, July 25, 2013.

According to criminal justice officers in South Africa, 515 rhinos were killed by poachers between January 1, 2013 to July 23, 2013.

The rhinos were killed for their horns which are sold on the black market in Asia.

(Prices of rhino horns and ivory on the illegal wildlife trade.)

668 rhinos were killed  in all of 2012.

Source:  AFP, “Over 500 rhinos poached in South Africa this year,” France 24, July 24, 2013.