Wildlife Trafficking

News and statistics about wildlife trafficking and the illegal wildlife trade. Wildlife smuggling and animal trafficking data are collected from wildlife charities, research organizations, security officials and criminal justice programs.

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.

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.


A Kaiser’s spotted newt, also known as the Luristan Newt or the Emperor Spotted Newt, is a salamander that is found in Iran and is classified as an at-risk species.

The spotted salamander for sale online due to wildlife traffickers providing the animal. According to reports, the salamander costs $103 (£65) on the Internet.

(More prices of exotic animals for sale.)

Source:  Nic Fleming, “Illegal wildlife trading in internet’s deepest, darkest corners,” Guardian, September 3, 2012.

In 2011, an estimated 20 tones of dried seahorse was seized by police around the world. The seahorse is ground up into powder and used in Asian countries for its aphrodisiac purposes.

Half of the seahorse seizes in 2011 took place in Peru.

(Price list of endangered animals.)

Source:  “Peru police seize thousands of dried seahorses,” BBC News, August 23, 2012.

There are at least 1,000 Asiatic Black Bears in South Korea that are farmed for their bear bile. In China, there are a reported 12,000 bears that are farmed for their bile.

30 percent of South Korean tourists who visit China purchase bear bile products and bring it back to their home country. This act is a violation of international trade laws.

See more on how farmers extract bear bile.

Source:  John R. Platt, “Bear Bile Industry Reportedly Shrinking in South Korea, but Chinese Market Stays Strong,” Scientific American, Blog, July 24, 2012.

In the first six months of 2012, wildlife protection authorities have arrested 43 Asian nationals for rhino horn trafficking in South Africa. 24 were from Vietnam.

Despite having a large black market in rhino horns, there have been zero seizures of rhino horns in the country since 2008.

In 2011, at least 443 rhinos were killed in South Africa.

Source:  Adam Vaughan, “Affluent Vietnamese driving rhino horn poaching in South Africa, report warns,” Guardian, July 23, 2012.


Between 2000 and 2010, over 54,000 wild birds were trafficked through the Solomon Islands and into the global wildlife trade, according to wildlife monitoring organization Traffic. Many of the birds, such as parrots and cockatoos, are not native to the islands and are believed to have been smuggled into the country.

93 percent of the birds during the time period were imported to Malaysia and Singapore.

Source:  AFP, “Wild birds ‘smuggled through Solomon Islands’,” Google News, July 17, 2012.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has reported that 4 out of every 10 elephants that died between 2002 and 2006 were killed by poachers. In 2012, CITES estimates that poachers are the cause of 8 out of 10 elephant deaths in Africa.

Source:  David H. Halbfinger, “2 Manhattan Jewelers Admit Illegal Ivory Trading,” New York Times, July 12, 2012.

A report by the Pew Environmental Group stated that approximately 50 percent of the global trade in shark fin involves Hong Kong.

In 2011, around 22.7  million pounds of shark fin products was exported to Hong Kong from 83 countries.

An estimated 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins, which are sold for up to $100 per kilogram.

Source:  Matt McDermott, “3-4 Times More Sharks Killed Annually Than UN Stats Show,” TreeHugger, July 9, 2012.