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.

Banded kraits weighting one kilograms were reported to be selling on the black market at prices of $2,190 (100,000 Indian Rupees).

The high price for the yellow and black snake led to 3 cases arrests and confiscation of the snake in the Mayurbhanj district in India in one month.

(More prices of exotic pets for sale.)

Source: Amarendra Bose, “Smuggling shadow on snakes’ survival,” Times of India, September 1, 2011.

Illegal logging in Colombia is worth $60 Million a year, with 42 percent of all timber sold in the country being illegally felled.

The cost to extract one cubic meter legally felled wood in Colombia is $334.64. The cost when illegally logging is $195.80 per cubic meter.

Source: Toni Peters, “42% of Colombian timber illegal, worth $60 million a year,” Colombia Reports, August 29, 2011.

The city of Vancouver had the most animals and wildlife trade seizures in 2010, according to government statistics.

209 cases of wildlife trafficking seizures occurred in Vancouver, more then double the number of seizures in the second smuggling entry port of Toronto.

Source: Michael Mui, “Vancouver is No. 1 hub for illegal animal parts,” Toronto Sun, August 29, 2011.

The price of one liter of snake venom for sale is worth $235,175 (700,000 Malaysian Ringitt) when sold on the black market, according to wildlife enforcement officials.

Snake venom is extracted from poisonous snakes and smuggled around the world to be used make antidotes, aphrodisiacs and to snake charmers in India.The snakes are usually left to die.

(See more prices of exotic animals for sale.)

Between January and August of 2011, at least 38 oil field workers have been kidnapped in Colombia as the country increases its oil production.

Workers from around the world have been victims of kidnapping in Colombia. Reported kidnapping invovled workers from Colombian controlled company Ecopetrol, United States company Occidental Petroleum, and China based Emerald Energy.

Source: Chris Kraul, “Colombia sees surge in violent crime against oil workers,” Los Angeles Times, August 24, 2011.


One kilogram of coca paste that is used to make cocaine in the jungles of Colombia produces 600 kilograms of waste and 200 liters of contaminated water.

(Find more facts and information about cocaine.)

Source: Lucy Seigle, “The end of the line,” Guardian, August 21, 2011.

Pangolin organs can be bought in Nepal at prices of $413 per kilogram (30,000 Nepalese Rupees). When the organs are smuggled intoTibet, the same organs are sold for $1,100 (80,000 Nepalese Rupees).

Source: Dhurba Dangal, “Smuggling pangolin organs to China rampant,” Republica, August 23, 2011.

22 wildlife traffickers were arrested between January 2010 and April 2011 in Myanmar for attempting to smuggled 3,725 turtles or tortoises out of the country.

Myanmar is home to 32 turtle and tortoise species, which are sold by traffickers on the black market for 150,000 Myanmar Khat.

Wildlife officials in the country report that almost half of all wildlife trafficking arrests involves turtles and tortoises because “they are silent and easy to catch.”

(Endangered Animals Price List.)

Source: Ei Ei Toe Lwin, “Illegal wildlife trade on increase: govt,” Myanmar Times, August 22, 2011.


A United Nations employee who was tasked with driving an official UN Jeep was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo for trafficking minerals.

The driver was found carrying 1,200 kilograms of tin ore.

Source: Michael Kavanagh, “UN Jeep, Driver Seized for Mineral Trafficking on Congo, Rwandan Border,” Bloomberg, August 22, 2011.

According to wildlife protection officials in Australia, the sales of live animals and wildlife in the black market is a profitable activity for traffickers.

In the 2009 -2010 fiscal year, Customs officials recorded 4,014 incidents for people attempted to smuggle animals, plants or other forms of species through the luggage when checked at Australia’s borders. Most of the items seized were holiday souvenirs, with a smaller portion of the items being live animals.

Due to the difficulty in smuggling live animals, the wildlife smugglers prefer to transport reptiles and snakes due to their quiet nature.

(Current illegal wildlife trade statistics.)

Ways that the smugglers transport the animals include taping the species to the person’s body or hiding the items in its luggage. Customs have stated that it has found birds stuffed in plastic tubes, snakes being held in garden pots  and spiders kept in film canisters.

The reason that animal smugglers attempt to move all these items is due to the high prices the animals receive on the black market. According to officials, certain species of the black cockatoo from Australia are on sale for $31,000 (30,000 Australian Dollars).

(See more exotic pets for sale on the black market.)

Source: Carolyn Barry, “Australia’s wildlife blackmarket trade,” Australian Geographic, August 16, 2011.