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 the illegal wildlife trade market in Lebanon, the price that customers can purchase a tiger is between $5,000 to $10,000, according to animal welfare charity Animal Lebanon.

In addition to tigers, other animals available on the black market of Lebanon include lion cubs, chimpanzees, crocodiles, African parrots and monkeys.

(Additional prices of black market animals.)

Source:  Rayanne Abou Jaoude, “Illegal animal trafficking running rampant in Lebanon,” Daily Star, July 31, 2013.

Between 2010 and 2013, around 1,000 elephants were killed by poachers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The elephants are killed for their ivory which is sold on the black market in Asia.

As of 2013, there are an estimated 7,000 elephants remaining in the wild in the DRC, compared to 100,000 that were roaming the wild in the 1980s.

(See the price of wildlife on the illegal markets.)

Source:  Taylor Toeka Kakala, “Congo-Kinshasa: Soldiers Trade in Illegal Ivory,” AllAfrica, July 25, 2013.

According to criminal justice officers in South Africa, 515 rhinos were killed by poachers between January 1, 2013 to July 23, 2013.

The rhinos were killed for their horns which are sold on the black market in Asia.

(Prices of rhino horns and ivory on the illegal wildlife trade.)

668 rhinos were killed  in all of 2012.

Source:  AFP, “Over 500 rhinos poached in South Africa this year,” France 24, July 24, 2013.


Wildlife enforcement officials in Malaysia stated that the pangolin is the most trafficked animal in the illegal wildlife trade market in Malaysia.

Between 2010 and July 2013, officials broke up 50 cases of wildlife smuggling. In those cases, wildlife officers seized nearly 1,500 pangolins.

In 2013, a pangolin was being sold on the black market in Asia at prices of $1,000.

Source:  Isabella Lai, “Pangolins top in illicit trade,” Star, July 24, 2013.

The Al-Qaeda cell in Somalia is reportedly generating between $200,000 to $600,000 a month in revenue from the trafficking of ivory, according to Los Angeles based advocacy group Elephant Action League.

Wildlife officials in Kenya have also stated that militants are trafficking ivory to raise revenue.

(Endangered animals prices on the black market.)

Source:  Tristan McConnell, “Elephant tusks: the new blood diamonds,” Global Post, July 18, 2013.

In 2012, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Texas made over 150 arrests of online sales of endangered species.

30 game wardens were assigned to wildlife trafficking cases that lead to 51 federal and state cases being filed in court.

Among the items seized from online sales were freshwater stingrays, leopard pelt and non-native invasive snakes.

Source:  Carol Christian, “International wildlife sting finds most success in Texas,” Houston Chronicle, July 12, 2013.

According to environmental inspectors in Europe, a kilogram of tiger bones is sold on the black market for up to $2,000.

The bones are used in Asia for traditional medicines.

Tiger bones are also used to make tiger bone wine. The wine is believed by its drinkers to increase a person’s health. According to wildlife investigators, a bottle of tiger bone wine sold in Western China on the border of Myanmar costs $88.

(More prices of exotic animals for sale.)

The bones of a tiger are not the only part that is in demand. Customers pay up to $1,300 to buy a tiger penis on the black market.

Source:  Associated Press, “At airport, Czechs seize 2 almost full tiger skeletons believed destined for Asia black market,” Washington Post, July 11, 2013.

According to wildlife protection officers in Scotland, there were 3 incidents of poisoning of wildlife birds in 2012. The number of incidents was down from the 10 cases of poisoning involving 16 birds in 2011.

Wildlife and environmental officials state that many birds of prey have been killed by illegal hunters.

(Prices of endangered species on the black market.)

Source:  “Crackdown on ‘barbaric’ killing of birds of prey,” Herald Scotland, July 2, 2013.

Swedish Customs Officials state that up to 2,000 young puppies are illegally smuggled into Sweden each year. The dogs are bred Eastern European countries and then smuggled into Sweden in boxes and bags to avoid detection.

Animal welfare officials report that many of the puppies that are smuggled are chihuahuas, pugs and French bulldogs.

Source:  “Puppy smuggling shows no signs of abating,” The Local, June 18, 2013.

In the coastal city of Puerto Limón in Costa Rica, residents are becoming addicted to cocaine due to its location along the trafficking routes from South American to the United States. Security officials in the country state that many drug traffickers are paying local suppliers in cocaine, which is then consumed locally.

(See all wildlife trafficking statistics.)

With the rise in domestic users, many cocaine addicts are turning to turtle egg poaching in order to feed their habit. Poachers are  dig up several turtle nests at night which yields up to 90 turtle eggs. The poachers then sell these eggs directly to the cocaine dealer as payment for their drugs. The dealer turns around and sells a single turtle egg on the black market for $1. The eggs are popular with the local residents when combined with hot sauce and are sold in restaurants and street stalls.

(More prices of exotic wildlife on the black market.)

Source:  Scott Wallace, ” Costa Rican Murder Shines Light on Poaching, Drug Nexus,” National Geographic, June 17, 2013.