Elephant Poaching

News, information and statistics about elephant poaching. Facts about the killing of elephants for their ivory and the ivory trade is collected from wildlife charities, intelligence reports and other public criminal justice information.

See all facts and information about the illegal wildlife trade here.

According to reports from wildlife organization Save the Elephants, the price for raw ivory in China was $2,100 per kilogram.

Back in 2010, the price of the ivory was $750 per kilo.

Between 2010 and 2012, up to 33,000 elephants were poached and killed on average each year.

(See the price of elephants for sale on the global black market here.)

Source: AFP, “Smuggled elephant ivory price triples,” Yahoo News, July 3, 2014.

Based on statistics released by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), there were at least 20,000 elephants killed world wide by poachers in 2013 for their ivory tusks. The number of elephants killed was slightly down from the 22,000 elephants killed in 2012 and the 25,000 poached in 2011.

At the end of 2013, there were an estimated 500,000 African elephants living in the world. 95 percent of the elephant population has been killed during the last 100 years.

The ivory is collected from elephants in Africa and sold in markets in Asia. According to Cites, there are 8 countries that are heavily involved in either buying, selling or providing illicit ivory. The countries are Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in Africa, and China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam in Asia.

The three African countries accounted for 80 percent of the major seizures in Africa in 2013.

Security forces stated that many of the gangs involved in wildlife trafficking are now using existing drug trafficking routes to smuggle the ivory.

(See more elephant poaching statistics here.)

Source:  Damian Carrington, “Fewer elephants killed in 2013, figures show,” Guardian, June 13, 2014.

According to criminal justice programs and wildlife charities, a kilogram of ivory poached from elephants is available for sale in Asia at prices of $850 (€650). In 2011, over $31 Million worth of ivory tusks was smuggled from Eastern Africa to Asia, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

A large portion of the poaching of elephants and rhinos take place in Kenya. Security services in the region state that organized groups of poachers use night vision goggle, automatic weapons and chainsaws to kill rhinos and elephants and to quickly remove the horns and tusks.

Intelligence by wildlife charities and advocates state that the poaching in Kenya is done by a core group of 20 to 30 people.

(More statistics on elephant poaching.)

(More statistics on rhino poaching.)

Source:  AFP, “Counting the cost of East Africa’s poaching economy,” Google News, March 24,2014.


The Wildlife Conservation Office in Thailand released its figures of the number of wildlife and animals that it seized from wildlife traffickers in 2013.

According to the department, about 10,700 live animals, 1,348 carcasses of dead animals, and 3,293 kilograms of various animals parts were seized from wildlife traffickers in Thailand in 2013.

642 people involved in the illegal wildlife trade was also arrested in 2013.

Criminal justice officials reported that Sunda pangolins, squirrels, elephants, tigers and gibbons were the most seized animals in Thailand in 2013.

(More prices of exotic animals for sale.)

Source:  Pongphon Samsamak, “Up to 10,000 smuggled animals seized in past year,” The Nation, March 4, 2014.

According to ProFauna, a wildlife charity, wildlife traffickers are offering wildlife for sale on websites catering to customers in Indonesia.

On the popular Indonesian forum site Kaskus, the NGO found at least 220 advertisements of wildlife for sale in the month of January 2014. Based on an analysis of the advertisements, researchers were able to identify at least 22 various types of rare wildlife and products. Among the wildlife animals available for purchase included sea turtles, elephant ivory, lemurs, tiger skins, cockatoo, and anteaters.

The lemur was being offered for sale for $16.80.

(More prices of exotic animals for sale.)

The traders who offer these animals come from various areas of the country.

Indonesia is not the only country where wildlife is available for sale. Previous reports mentioned that animals were being sold online to customers in Dubai and China.

Source:  Indra Harsaputra, “Govt told to block websites selling wildlife,” Jakarta Post, February 14, 2014.

In a single week at the start of 2014, security officials in the African nation of Togo seized nearly four tonnes of ivory at nation’s main port.

While searching a cargo ship headed to Vietnam, authorities discovered nearly 1.7 tonnes of elephant ivory. After further searches, an additional 2.1 tonnes of ivory was discovered.

In 2013, government security agencies at the port seized 700 kilograms of ivory that mostly originated from Chad.

Nearly 100 elephants are killed each day by poachers looking for their tusks. Back in 1900, there were an estimated 10 million elephants in the wild. In 2014, wildlife charities estimate that there are roughly 500,000 elephants remaining.

(More information about elephant poaching here.)

Source:  AFP, “Togo intensifies crackdown on ivory trafficking,” Google News, February 3, 2014.

According to wildlife charities, nearly 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers. The poachers kill the elephants in order to cut off the elephant’s tusks. Ivory tusks with elaborate carvings on them can be sold for up to $3,000 per kilogram on the global black market.

70 percent of the demand for ivory is centered in China.

In 1980, there were 1.2 million elephants in Africa. At the start of 2014, due to poaching, wildlife officials estimate that there are around 500,000 elephants remaining.

(Prices of exotic animals for sale)

Source:  Sophie Brown and Susan Wang, “China crushes tons of illegal ivory,” CNN, January 6, 2014.

(See more information about elephant poaching.)

The International Union for Conservation of Nature reports that there are about 500,000 elephants living in Africa.

In 2012, poachers killed an estimated 22,000 elephants across Africa for the elephants ivory.

The black market trade in ivory rose to the highest level recorded in 16 years during 2011.

70 percent of the ivory that is taken from dead elephants are shipped to China.

(Prices of endangered animals on the illegal wildlife trade market.)

Source:  Michael Gunn, “Poaching May Wipe Out Fifth of Africa’s Elephants, Groups Say,” Bloomberg, December 2, 2013.

In Cambodia, one of the most popular wildlife that was trafficked in 2013 was the pangolin. According to wildlife conservation officials, the meat of a pangolin is sold on the black market for $300 per kilogram. The pangolin’s scales, which is used for medicinal purposes, is sold for $3,000 per kilogram.

Across Asia, the average price to buy a pangolin for sale is $1,000.

In the first nine months of 2013, wildlife officials in Cambodia seized over 2,000 live animals and over 2,300 dead animals while arresting 125 wildlife traffickers. Back in 2001, officials were seizing around 4,400 live animals such as elephants, tigers and bears.

Experts state that the decline in seizures is caused because the population of those animals have been declining due to poaching.

(See all prices of exotic animals kept as pets.)

Source:  Stuart White, “Animal trade down,” Phnom Penh Post, November 27, 2013.

In 2013, it was reported that poachers in Zimbabwe used cyanide to kill elephants at a nature reserve. Original estimates by wildlife officials found stated that around 100 elephants died from the poison. After further analysis, the number of elephants killed by cyanide has increased to over 300. Conservation officials state that it is the worst massacre of elephants in Southern African in 25 years.

(All elephant poaching statistics.)

The poachers killed the elephants by lacking water holes and salt licks with cyanide. Once the elephants die, the poachers cut of their ivory tusks. The poachers are able to sell the tusks for $482 (4,750 South African Rand) to cross-border traders in Zimbabwe. The tusks are then smuggled to South Africa, where it can be resold for up to $1,604 (15,800 Rand).

(More black market wildlife trade prices.)

Source:  Daily Telegraph, “Poachers kill 300 Zim elephants with cyanide,” Times Live, October 21, 2013.

All wildlife trafficking information.