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.

Between 2000 and 2007, an average of 12 Rhinos were killed each year in order to meet the supply of rhino horns on the world black market.

In 2010, 333 rhinos were killed for their horns.

In the first 8 months of 2011, over 200 were poached and killed.

(Price list of endangered species.)

Source: Michael McCarthy, “Britain urges Asia to act over surging trade in rhinoceros horn,” Independent, August 15, 2011.

180 leopards were poached and killed in India in 2010, according to wildlife authorities. There are between 5,000 to 10,000 leopards living in the wild in India.

Authorities believe that the leopards were killed in order to meet the demand for products in the wildlife trade in China. A leopard skin rug is sold for $100,000 to $300,000 in China.

Source: Chetan Chauhan, “China wildlife scheme endanger Indian tigers,” Hindustan Times, August 12, 2011.

An estimated 10 elephants are killed every month in southeast Cameroon for their ivory, according to elephant conservation programs in the African country.

Around 11,500 elephants remain in the wild in Cameroon.  In one national park in neighboring Chad, the number of wild elephants almost decreased by half within 5 years due to poaching.

In 2006, an estimated 23,000 elephants were killed in Central Africa by wildlife traffickers.

(Price list of endangered animals on the black market.)

Source: Divine Ntaryike, “Cameroon, Chad Team Up to Protect Wildlife,” Voice of America, August 11, 2011.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing off the shores of Brunei costs the fishing industry to lose $13 Million a year in revenue.

Source: Ubaidillah Masli and Bandar Seri Begawan, “Over $13m in fisheries resources lost to illegal fishing,” Brunei Times, July 27, 2011.

In an article in the Guardian, a museum valued a stuffed Rhino head at $81,000 (50,000 British Pounds) as an artifact for insurance purposes.

That same rhino head, which was stolen from the museum, can be sold on the black market for its medicinal use in China for $325,000 (200,000 British Pounds).

In a span of six months in 2011, 20 cases of rhino horn theft from museums have been reported to police across Europe.

The value of a kilogram of rhino horn sold illegally was reported to be $97,000 (60,000 British Pounds) in August of 2011, almost double the price of $57,000 (35,000 British Pounds) at the start of 2011.

(All endangered animals prices.)

Source: Esther Addley, “Epidemic of UK rhino horn thefts linked to one criminal gang,” Guardian, August 8, 2011.

Pemex, Latin America’s biggest oil producer, was employing 1,144 security personnel across 288 sites to prevent oil theft and smuggling in 2011.

Between 2001 and July 2011, the company found 97 employees who were involved in fuel theft and oil smuggling. Aside for internal theft, Pemex has filed over 2,600 formal complaints with the government of Mexico for fuel theft between the year 2000 and August 2010.

In the first quarter of 2011, the company lost $250 Million to theft.

Source: Mica Rosenberg, “Pemex counts 100 workers linked to Mexico fuel thefts,” Reuters, July 25, 2011.

Source: Heather Walsh, “Pemex to Hire More Guards to Reduce Theft, El Universal Reports,” Bloomberg, August 6, 2011.

There were 4,014 seizures of illegal wildlife in Australia in 2010.

Two-thirds of the seizures involved ingredients from endangered species to be used in traditional medicines.

(Prices of endangered species on the black market.)

Source: Sian Powell, “From jungle to suitcase, Southeast Asia’s wildlife faces a bleak future,” Australian, August 6, 2011.

60 percent of hazardous waste generated in Vietnam is properly treated and disposed. The remaining 40 percent is either illegally dumped, buried or reused, according to the head of the Environmental Crime office.

In 2010, 322 cases of hazardous waste violations were investigated with $476,000 (10 Billion Vietnamese Dongs) collected in fines.

Source: “Puny fines fail to deter environmental crimes,” Viet Nam News, August 3, 2011.

Illegal fishing of wild salmon in the United Kingdom’s River Wye increased by 57 percent between 2009 and 2011.

20 pounds of the salmon can be sold for up to $492 (300 British Pounds).

(Data about bluefin tuna, caviar and other illegal fishes caught worldwide.)

Source: “Eastern European poachers causing fish stocks to drop by more than half in the River Wye,” Daily Mail, August 4, 2011.

In 2000, there were an estimated 100 wild tigers in Vietnam. In 2011, an estimated 30 tigers remained in the wild.

Worldwide, around 3,200 tigers were in the wild in 2011.

From 1900 to 2011, the tiger population in the world decreased by 97 percent.

Source: Viet Nam News/ANN, “Vietnam’s tiger population hits crisis point,” Straits Times, August 1, 2011.