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.

Trash smugglers in Sydney, Australia illegal dump up to 500,000 tons of trash across the state each year, waste management operators estimate.

By illegally dumping waste, smugglers are able to avoid up to $4,222 (3,840 Australian Dollars) in fees.

 Source: Natalie O’Brien, “Organised crime linked to hazardous waste scourge,” Sydney Morning Herald, April 3, 2011.

The Environmental Investigation Agency reported that up to 500,000 cubic meters of timber is illegally logged and smuggled into Vietnam from Laos every year. The timber is valued at $150 Million.

Source: AFP, “Vietnam army smuggling timber in Laos: activists,” Google News, July 28, 2011.

The Government of Peru allows 7 different species of parrots to be sold legally in wildlife markets within the country.

In a 2008 study, the report found 34 species of parrots being sold in the markets of Peru. Of the 34 identified, one was endangered and two were vulnerable to endangered status.

(Endangered animals sold on the black market.)

Source: Lynn Miao, “The Illegal Parrot Trade,” Audubon Magazine, July 28, 2011.

Between 65,000 to 78,500 parrots were trafficked internally in Mexico in 2007, according to a report. 75 percent of the parrots traded, or between 50,000 to 60,000, died before reaching its destination.

Of the 22 identified parrots that were being illegally sold on the black market, 6 were endangered and 10 were considered threatened.

Source: Lynn Miao, “The Illegal Parrot Trade,” Audubon Magazine, July 28, 2011.

Wildlife officials in Uganda found over 200 African Grey Parrots that were being held illegally in warehouses. Security officials believe that the parrots were in the process of being sold by smugglers. The sale of African grey parrots to customers in Europe, North America and Eat Asia have caused officials in Uganda to worry about the rise in wildlife trafficking.

According to security officials, an African grey parrot price on the black market is usually around $2,000.

(Additional prices of birds, reptiles and other exotic animals on the illegal wildlife trade.)

Source:  AFP, “Uganda frees smuggled parrots back into the wild,” Google News, July 28, 2011.


In an article on the black market trade in bear bile in Laos, Radio Free Asia reported on the process in which bear bile is extracted.

The bile is usually extracted twice a day from bears that are locked up in “crush” cages that are designed to be extremely small so that the bear is unable to stand or move. The bile is collected using a free-flowing drip method into a tube that is attached to the bear’s gall bladder. In order to slowly extract the bear bile, a opening in the bear’s stomach area must be kept open.

A milliliter of bear bile is sold on the black market for $15. The average monthly salary of a Laotian is $30.

In 2009, officials stated that two pounds of bear bile could be sold on the black market for $400,000.

Source: “Bile Trade Rife Despite Ban,” Radio Free Asia, July 27, 2011.

A report by Oceana estimates  that 4,874  loggerhead sea turtles and 108 leatherback sea turtles were killed in the Gulf of Mexico by boats fishing without turtle-excluder devices in their nets. Shrimp fishing boats are required by federal law to have the devices installed in their nets when trawling on the sea floor.

(More information about illegal fishing of turtles, caviar and other seafood.)

  Source: Renee Schoof, “Inspections show violations of rules on turtle excluder devices,” Sacramento Bee, July 19, 2011.

The buying and selling of dogs for domestic pets is illegal in Iran. With the rise of Western television programing, more and more Iranians are purchasing dogs as pets. The demand has created a black market, with the price of  puppies selling between $500 to $10,000.

(More prices of animals sold illegally around the world.)

Source: Farnaz Fassihi, “A Craze for Pooches in Iran Dogs the Morality Police,” Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2011.

A golden coin turtle is illegally sold in China for prices as high as $20,000.

Wildlife conservation experts state that many turtles and other sea life in Asia are at a high risk of poaching and wildlife trafficking due to the amount of money in the marketplace. The turtles are often poached to be sold as pets, while turtle eggs for sale are often eaten as a delicacy.

See more exotic animals for sale.

Source: Feargus O’Sullivan, “Threatened species on the menu worldwide,” The National, July 17, 2011.

Malaysia’s economy losses $334 Million (1 Billion Malaysian ringgit) a year to illegal fishing activities by foreign fisherman within its territorial waters.

Source: New Straight Times, “Fishery industry loses RM1 billion annually to illegal fishing,” illegal-fishing.info, July 12, 2010.