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.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, around 1.5 billion liters of fuel is smuggled out of Algeria each year.

The amount of fuel that is smuggled is worth $15 Million per year.

The fuel is smuggled to the border of Morocco, where the region consumes more fuel each year than the capital of Algeria.

Algeria has the third cheapest fuel price in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

Source:  “1.5 bn litres of fuel smuggled each year in Algeria,” India, New York Daily News, July 24, 2013.

Wildlife enforcement officials in Malaysia stated that the pangolin is the most trafficked animal in the illegal wildlife trade market in Malaysia.

Between 2010 and July 2013, officials broke up 50 cases of wildlife smuggling. In those cases, wildlife officers seized nearly 1,500 pangolins.

In 2013, a pangolin was being sold on the black market in Asia at prices of $1,000.

Source:  Isabella Lai, “Pangolins top in illicit trade,” Star, July 24, 2013.

Between April 2011 and June 2013, environmental authorities seized over 69,600 tons of logs that were illegally logged, according to the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry.

Large portions of the illegally logged timber in Myanmar is transported to China.

Source:  “Myanmar’s authorities seize nearly 70K tons of illegal logs: ministry,” Eleven Myanmar, July 20, 2013.

The Al-Qaeda cell in Somalia is reportedly generating between $200,000 to $600,000 a month in revenue from the trafficking of ivory, according to Los Angeles based advocacy group Elephant Action League.

Wildlife officials in Kenya have also stated that militants are trafficking ivory to raise revenue.

(Endangered animals prices on the black market.)

Source:  Tristan McConnell, “Elephant tusks: the new blood diamonds,” Global Post, July 18, 2013.

Around 27,800 jobs are lost in the European Union each year due to illegal fishing activities. The job losses is equal to 13 percent of all jobs in the fishing industry in the EU.

Up to $1.4 Billion (€1.1 Billion) worth of seafood that was illegally caught is sold in the EU each year. The illegally caught fish makes up 16 percent of the regions total yearly catch.

Source:  Gwen Guilford, “Can the EU stop South Korea’s fishing vessels from cheating it out of wages and jobs?,” Quartz, July 16, 2013.


Due to an increase in landfill taxes in Scotland, organized crime groups have been providing illegal waste dumping services to companies.

According to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a single illegal landfill can be filled with trash that causes the government to lose up to $1.3 Million (€1 Million) in tax revenue.

Between 2008 to 2012, 40 companies were convicted for illegal waste dumping in Scotland.

Source:  “Scotland: Crime and Illegal Landfills,” Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, July 3, 2013.

In the first half of 2013, environmental officials in Ireland recovered 400 tons of waste that was illegally dumped by organized crime groups in Ireland. The waste was used to create white fuel that was used by drivers, and included ingredients such as sulfuric acid, cat litter, charcoal, and sand.

In 2012, officials seized 445 tons throughout the entire year.

Law enforcement agencies across the country discovered 11 illegal oil and fuel producing plants in 2012. The fuel smuggling operations was estimated to have cost the government up to $130 Mill lion (€100 Million) in tax revenue.

Source:  Stephen Breen, “Smuggling gangs take us for fuels,” Irish Sun, July 15, 2013.

In the Madre de Dios region of Peru, 85 percent of fuel sales is used to operate machinery for illegal mining operations. Only 15 percent of all fuel sales is used for automobiles.

The illegal mining machinery requires 70 to 80 gallons of fuel to operate per day.

The area, located on the borders of Peru, Brazil, and Bolivia, has seen an increase illegal mining. Government officials estimate that up to 97 percent of the miners working in the region are unregistered.

Source:  Marguerite Cawley, “High Fuel Demand Highlights Illegal Mining in Peru Amazon,” Insight Crime, July 15, 2013.

In 2012, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Texas made over 150 arrests of online sales of endangered species.

30 game wardens were assigned to wildlife trafficking cases that lead to 51 federal and state cases being filed in court.

Among the items seized from online sales were freshwater stingrays, leopard pelt and non-native invasive snakes.

Source:  Carol Christian, “International wildlife sting finds most success in Texas,” Houston Chronicle, July 12, 2013.

According to environmental inspectors in Europe, a kilogram of tiger bones is sold on the black market for up to $2,000.

The bones are used in Asia for traditional medicines.

Tiger bones are also used to make tiger bone wine. The wine is believed by its drinkers to increase a person’s health. According to wildlife investigators, a bottle of tiger bone wine sold in Western China on the border of Myanmar costs $88.

(More prices of exotic animals for sale.)

The bones of a tiger are not the only part that is in demand. Customers pay up to $1,300 to buy a tiger penis on the black market.

Source:  Associated Press, “At airport, Czechs seize 2 almost full tiger skeletons believed destined for Asia black market,” Washington Post, July 11, 2013.