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.

A report in October 2012 stated that up to 180,000 barrels of oil was being stolen each day in Nigeria. Based on the price of oil at the time of the report, the country was losing $6 Billion a year to oil theft.

90 percent of the oil stolen from Nigeria is smuggled to foreign countries, such as Ukraine, Serbia or Bulgaria or refined in Singapore. 10 percent of the oil is refined locally by gangs.

Source:  “Stolen Nigeria oil ‘goes to Balkans and Singapore’,” BBC News, October 23, 2012.

Up to 30,000 dogs are smuggled from Thailand across the border and eventually  end up for sale on the black market in Vietnam.

Butchers who work with the meat offer dog meat for sale to the public for $26 to $32 (800 to 1,000 Thai Baht.)

The dogs that are targeted by smugglers are not strays, but healthier dogs that are kept as pets.

(See more exotic pet prices.)

Source:  “Out of the meat trade, into agony,” Bangkok Post, October 21, 2012.

In 2002, the cost of raw ivory on the illicit market was reported to be $150 per kilogram. By 2004, the cost doubled to $300 per kilogram.By the end of the decade, raw ivory was selling for $700 per kilogram, according to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

In China alone, the price of raw ivory has skyrocketed. In 2011, the price of ivory was reported to be $270 per pound. By October 2012, the reported price of raw ivory on the black market is $900 per pound.

(Additional endangered animals price list)

Half of all large-scale ivory seizures that involve over 800 kilograms of ivory takes place in China. Between 2009 and 2011, a total of 29,000 kilograms of raw ivory was seized in China.

Source:  Audrey Yoo and Catherine Traywick, “Blood Ivory: Hong Kong Fights a Losing Battle Against Smugglers,” Time, October 15, 2012.

The world’s largest butterfly, the Queen Alexandra Birdwing, is illegally sold by wildlife traffickers for $8,195 (8,000 Australian).

(More exotic animals prices here.)

Source:  Georgina Kenyon, “Getting away with murder,” ABC (Australia), October 15, 2012.

The Voice of America reported that people pay around $50 in bribes local officials in Cambodia to obtain “permits” that allows illegal fishing methods. The permit allows fishing boats to use nets that are hundreds of meters in length are are illegal due to its large size.

In 2010, 321,000 meters of illegal fishing nets was seized in Cambodia.

(More examples of corruption.)

Source:  Say Mony, “Illegal Fishing Threatens Tonie Sap Lake Villagers’ Livelihood,” Voice of America, October 10, 2012.


An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 barrels of oil is stolen every day in Indonesia. The oil is siphoned from pipelines by illegal taps, according to an energy think tank in the country.

In the Southern Sumatra district of Bayung Lencir, 373 cases of oil theft have been reported in the first 9 months of 2012. In 2011, there were a total of 158 reported oil theft cases.

Source:  Amahl S. Azwar, “Govt criticized for inaction on rampant oil theft,” Jakarta Post, October 9, 2012.

In the first 9 months of 2012, security forces in Colombai reported an average of 512 barrels of oil per day being stolen. Security officials state that the high level of oil theft are being conducted by drug trafficking who use the stolen oil to produce cocaine.

According to the United Nations, producing one kilogram of cocaine requires between 74 to 86 gallons of oil.

Since beginning patrols in the second quarter of 2012, police have seized 21 cocaine refineries, 53 tanks that were used to process oil, and 226,000 gallons of stolen crude oil.

Source:  Heather Walsh, “Colombia Combats Martians Robbing Crude for Cocaine Labs,” Bloomberg, October 5, 2012.

A report published by the United Nations Environment Programme and Interpol stated that illegal loggers pay between $25,000 to $50,000 in bribes for permits from government officials that allow them to log in restricted areas. Illegal loggers in Indonesia pay officials between 10 to 40 percent of the value of the logging deal.

(More government corruption examples and cases.)

Source:  “Green Carbon, Black Trade: Illegal Logging , Tax Fraud and Landering in The World’s Tropical Forests,” United Nations Environmental Programme and Interpol, 2012, page 6, 33.

20 Forest Rangers in the Philippines have been killed between from 2010 when a ban on logging was enacted and October 2012, according to the Philippine Government.

Over the past century, the country has lost over half of its forests, with 7.6 million hectares of forests remaining.

The Forest Rangers earn $260 (11,000 Philippine Pesos) a month.

Source:  Cecil Morella, “Rangers losing battle in Philippine forests,” Inquirer, October 2, 2012.

A report by the World Wildlife Fund stated that over the course of 10 years, every week at least 4 leopards have been poached and their body parts sold on the black market in India.

Seizures of the illegal wildlife trade shows that 26.4 percent of all leopards seized took place in Delhi.

Source:  Press Trust of India, “Delhi hub for trade in leopard body parts: report,” Business Standard, September 28, 2012.