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.

The World Wildlife Fund in Indonesia reported that smugglers are profiting from the price difference in sea turtle eggs in Indonesia and Malaysia.

In Indonesia, the price of a single turtle egg at local markets costs $0.13 (1,500 Indonesian Rupiah). In Malaysia, the price of a single turtle egg is $0.23 (2,600 Rupiah).

Turtle egg smuggling has been an issue facing nature protection officials in Indonesia. Around 2,000 green turtles nest at one beach in Indonesia each year. In 2009, wildlife activities reported that 2,146 turtle nests had eggs taken from them. After local police increased surveillance, the percent of looted nests decreased to 26 percent in 2011 and 22 percent in 2012.

In 2013, egg smuggling has increased in the villages of Sebubus and Temajuk, where the number of nests ransacked increased by 40 percent and 95 percent.

(Prices of the illegal wildlife trade.)

Source:  Severianus Endi, “Sea turtle egg smuggling on the rise,” Jakarta Post, October 6, 2013.

According to the Elephant Action League, the Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab funds up to 40 percent of their operations with the proceeds from ivory trafficking.

The group was responsible for the September 2013 attack on a Kenyan mall in September 2013.

Ivory trafficking across Africa contributed to the deaths of over 30,000 elephants in 2012. The biggest global market for ivory is in China, where a kilogram of ivory can sell for around $3,000 a kilo.

Poachers who kill the elephant in Africa earn between $50 to $100 per kilogram for the ivory.

(Prices of endangered species on the black market.)

Source:  Catruna Stewart, “Illegal ivory trade funds al-Shabaab’s terrorist attacks,” Independent, October 6, 2013.

64,507 wildlife animals was seized by criminal justice agencies in Colombia as they were being trafficked across the country.

59 percent of the trafficked animals seized were reptiles, 16 percent were birds, 5 percent were mammals, and the remaining 20 percent were other types of species.

In an example of the illegal wildlife trade in Colombia, a sloth is sold on the black market for $30.

(Prices of exotic animals for sale worldwide.)

Source:  Sylvia Zárate, “Colombia: Canine squad combats wildlife trafficking,” Infosurhoy, September 19, 2013.


An estimated 5 million dogs are slaughtered in Vietnam each year to be eaten. In order to meet the supply, dogs are routinely taken from pet owners in neighboring Thailand. Animal welfare groups state that most dogs that are trafficked into Vietnam have collars on them.

Due to the trade in illegal dog meat, Vietnam reportedly has one of Asia’s worst rabies problems.

A report by Time Magazine in 2013 stated that a stolen dog can be sold by traffickers for $155 to $214 (5,000 to 7,000 Thai Baht.) This price is higher than the previously reported price of $26 to $32 (800 to 1,000 Baht) reported by the Bangkok Post in 2012.

(More prices of animals and wildlife.)

Source:  Charlie Campbell, “Dog’s Dinner: Southeast Asian Nations Ban Illicit Canine Meat Trade,” Time, September 6, 2013.

In the first eight months of 2013, a reported 190 elephants, 35 rhinos, and 2 forest rangers were killed in Kenya.

In 2012, a total of 29 rhinos were killed in the country.

Between 2009 and 2012, nearly 1,000 elephants have been killed in Kenya by poachers. The total elephant population in the country is between 35,000 to 40,000.

(Price of rhino horns and ivory on the black market.)

Source:  Associated Press, “Poachers kill rhino in Nairobi Nat’l Park, highlighting risk to Kenya’s wildlife,” Washington Post, August 13, 2013.

A Romanian Princess was arrested in the US State of Oregon for running an illegal cockfighting ring at her ranch. Along with her husband, a former Sheriff’s Deputy, the couple charged spectators admission and sold food and drinks at the matches, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors stated that the couple made up to $2,000 a day from the illegal cockfighting matches.

(More statistics on cockfighting and illegal betting.)

Source:  Associated Press, “Romanian princess alleged to be part of illegal US cockfighting ring,” Guardian, August 16, 2013.

Between 2000 and 2009, Malaysia imported 6,898 tonnes of shark fins, according to data released by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

Between 2002 and 2011, fisherman  caught 231,212 tonnes of sharks in the waters surrounding Malaysia. The shark catch figures for the country represented 2.9 percent of global shark catches. During this time period, Indonesia and India were responsible for over 20 percent of the global shark catches worldwide.

(Prices of endangered animals for sale on the black market.)

Source:  Rashvinjeet S. Bedi, “Malaysia plays a big role in global trade of sharks, says wildlife network Traffic,” Star, August 16, 2013.

Officials with the World Wildlife Fund stated that at least 19 Siberian Tigers were killed by poachers between 2012 and the first half of 2013 in Russia.

The body parts of a Siberian tiger can be sold for up to $50,000 on the black market in China.

(More prices of the illegal wildlife trade.)

Source: “Poachers Kill 19 Russian Tigers in 2012-13 – WWF,” RIA Novosti, July 31, 2013.

Wildlife conservation officials in India stated that 3 percent of people charged with wildlife trafficking crimes are convicted.

The illegal wildlife trade has been growing in India, with more smuggling cases being identified by officials.

For example, up to 4 leopards are believed to be sold each week on the black market in India.

Source:  Bagish K Jha, “Wildlife crimes getting more organized in country: Experts,” Times of India, August 1, 2013.

Over 2,500 elephants are estimated to have been killed by poachers in Mozambique between 2009 and 2012.

It was previous reported by intelligence services that poachers in Mozambique were using land mines to kill elephants for their ivory.

(Price of ivory and other wildlife trade products.)

Source:  John Yeld, “Mozambique steps up war on poaching,” Independent Online, July 31, 2013.