Did you know that humans kill 1000 elephants every day, according to poaching statistics? 

Spreading awareness on these issues can contribute to small changes for saving helpless animals.

We hope these facts and statistics help you understand the amount of work needed to protect many species. 

Little Known Poaching Statistics 

  • A Rhino Is Poached Every 22 Hours 
  • Each Day 100 Elephants Are Killed in Africa
  • Only 400 Sunda Tigers Remain
  • Just Over 1000 Gorillas Are Still Alive
  • African Elephant Habitats Have Shrunk Over 50% 
  • There Are Only 2 Northern White Rhinos Left
  • The Wild Amur Leopard Population Is 84
  • 42% of the World’s Turtle Population Could Become Extinct
  • Texas Has Between 2000 and 5000 Tigers

What is Poaching?

Poaching is the illegal capture, killing, and hunting of wild animals for financial incentives. All types of poaching are illegal worldwide but it’s still a billion-dollar industry. 

Animals are sometimes kept alive and sold as “pets”, while others die in order for parts to be sold. These include skins, tusks, hide, skulls, and multiple different body parts for rare foods and medicines.

Poaching Statistics in 2022

Illegal hunting has been around for hundreds of years, and the industry continues to grow. 

Let’s look at some animal poaching facts and statistics to get an idea of where we are today. 

1. 9442 Rhinos Have Been Poached in Africa In the Last Ten Years

(Source: Save the Rhino)

  • 1349 rhinos were poached in 2015, the largest amount killed in a single year. It’s based on records, so the actual number could be much higher.
  • The numbers have been decreasing but are still massively high. On average, a rhino is poached every 22 hours.
  • The species has had no time to recover from the damage. Between 2007 and 2014, illegal hunting in South Africa increased by over 9000%.

Rhino poaching is a severe issue in Africa because they have the biggest population of the animal. Even though conservation efforts are underway, the species is critically endangered. 

2. The Rhino Horn Black Market Price Is $1,700 per Ounce

(Source: Poaching Facts)

  • Poaching statistics show there are only two northern white rhinos left — Fatu and Najin. They’re under constant surveillance in Kenya. The entire species will go extinct as both animals are female.
  • Illegal hunting is the number one reason why the rhino is often listed in endangered species statistics. While the numbers are declining, humans killed a total of 394 rhinos in 2020.
  • While COVID-19 has ravaged most countries, it has also saved many rhinos due to the lockdowns and limited travel. 166 rhinos were poached in the first half of 2020, compared to 2019, which had almost double the amount in the same time frame.

South African rhino poaching statistics show us the struggle to get a grip on illegal hunting. Unless we take measures soon, we may never save these animals.  

The Elephant Population Has Decreased Over 62% in the Last Decade

Elephant Poaching Statistics

Like the rhino, elephant tusks have long been hunted for their ivory. Unfortunately, the growing trade is having a considerable impact on the species and its habitat.

3. The Elephant Population Has Decreased Over 62% in the Last Decade

(Source: World Elephant Day)

  • Poachers in Africa kill 100 elephants each day for their meat and tusks. Between 2010 and 2012, 100,000 elephants were caught.
  • There are only 400,000 elephants left. The rate of killing is outweighing reproduction. Experts estimate that elephants will be extinct within the next decade. Your chance to experience this beautiful animal is running out. 
  • Between 2010 and 2014, the demand for ivory tripled in China. It put a lot of pressure on poachers and resulted in thousands of dead elephants.

After all, supply and demand rule the industry. If wealthy people didn’t need ivory as a status symbol, the trade would die out, and elephants would have a chance to regain their numbers. Sadly, elephant poaching facts show no signs of decline.

4. African Elephant Habitats Have Shrunk Over 50% 

(Source: WWF)

  • Asian elephants have only around 15% of their original habitat. They need the natural environment for breeding purposes mostly. If animals feel threatened, they won’t reproduce, which puts massive pressure on the population.
  • Numbers are growing in Southern Africa. But elephant populations in East and Central Africa are declining rapidly because monitoring and protecting the animals in the wild is very challenging.
  • Asian numbers of the population have dropped by 50% over the last three generations. Overall, scientists notice a breakdown in biodiversity worldwide due to the decline.

The effects of poaching create a domino effect on all other species, including us. 

In the early 2000s, experts believed the Ebola virus killed over a third of western lowland gorillas.

Gorilla Poaching Statistics

Mountain gorillas are native to Africa and are divided into two locations — the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda. 

Let’s have a look at some of the poaching issues for this species.

5. The Mountain Gorilla Was Only Discovered in 1902

(Source: WWF)

  • Within the last 100 years, the exact number of gorillas that have lost their lives is unknown, as they live in densely forested areas. But the numbers are in the thousands. Just over 1000 are still alive, and the decline continues. 
  • The species could become extinct within the same century it was discovered. That said, this led to massive conservation efforts and changed laws. In 2009, two gorillas were killed each week for bushmeat.
  • The main threat the species face is habitat loss. Over 100,000 people live in these remote areas and are pushing gorillas out of their environment. Combine that with fires and damage from oil, and we may see this animal extinct in the next 50 years. 

Gorillas share 98% of our DNA. Losing them would be devastating for our planet, and wildlife statistics show a decline in numbers, despite major efforts of organizations across the globe.

6. The IUCN Has Classified Gorillas as an Endangered Species

(Source: National Geographic) 

  • The western lowland gorilla is the smallest representative. 80% of these animals live in unprotected areas, which exposes them to poachers.
  • In the early 2000s, experts believed the Ebola virus killed over a third of western lowland gorillas. Our similar DNA means that the same viruses affect us. There’s a no-touch policy for tourists visiting gorilla-populated areas.
  • Recent studies revealed there’s a much larger population of gorillas than previously thought. That said, the species is still critically endangered.

You’re a thousand miles away, so Africa and poaching statistics can be difficult to relate to. What does any of that have to do with you? Well, our need for products causing deforestation is responsible for gorilla extinction. 

In 2003, 31 tiger skins and hundreds of other cat breeds’ were discovered in a shipment out of India.

Tiger Poaching Statistics

Turns out Tiger King wasn’t an exaggeration. 

7. Texas Has the Second Largest Tiger Population 

(Source: Deutsche Welle)

  • Texas has between 2000 and 5000 tigers. The number is more than those in the wild, where they’re approximately 3800.
  • China has a massive demand for this animal. 30% of illegal tiger parts are found on farms. As the demand goes up, so does the killing of wild tigers.
  • In 2003, 31 tiger skins and hundreds of other cat breeds’ were discovered in a shipment out of India.

Wildlife conservation facts show huge initiatives are underway, and mass investigations in Texas will hopefully decrease the number of pet tigers. 

8. Only 400 Sunda Tigers Remain

(Source: WWF)

  • Poachers kill more than 40 Sunda tigers each year. They’re responsible for over 80% of the estimated deaths.
  • Habitat loss is another big concern. Sumatra is the only place in the world for this species. Unfortunately, deforestation from palm oil production caused the island to lose 28% of its forest coverage between 1985 and 2014. 
  • All Sunda tigers in Java and Bali are extinct. The species could be gone entirely in the next 50 years.

By now, you should understand that the number one reason for these shocking animal poaching stats is us. Simply put, we’re killing our planet and all its creatures. No wonder vegan statistics are on the rise.

The amur is a subspecies found in southeast Russia. Between 1970 and 1980, due to logging and other habitat destroying acts, the species lost 80% of its habitat.

Amur Leopard Poaching Statistics

Consider yourself incredibly lucky if you ever have the chance to see this rare animal.

9. The Wild Amur Leopard Population Is 84 

(Source: Thought Co)

  • The amur is a subspecies found in southeast Russia. Between 1970 and 1980, due to logging and other habitat destroying acts, the species lost 80% of its habitat.
  • Over the past 40 years, the illegal leopard skin trade has nearly wiped out the species. Loss of habitat makes it easier for poachers.
  • Another issue is the insufficient prey in the area, meaning the leopards have little to hunt, and they get closer to extinction. The Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA) is hard at work to help these animals. Four anti-poaching teams monitor the leopard year-round. 

Think about it. it would take only one virus outbreak to kill the remainder of this species. Animals will be forced into close contact, which is one of the major concerns for conservationists. The animal poaching statistics for this beautiful breed are heartbreaking.

10. The Amur Leopard Is the Rarest Cat on Earth

(Source: Conserve Wild Cats)

  • The species can reach up to 35mph. That’s how they catch prey, like roe deer, badgers, and sika deer. Unfortunately, some of these are so over hunted that the leopards have to go inland, making them easy targets for poachers.
  • Decades ago, the species dwindled to 35 individual leopards, which led to inbreeding and caused massive health and genetic issues.
  • Bush fires destroy between 12% to 22% of their habitat each year.

There are now more Russian laws on leopard poaching. Illegal hunters face two years in jail or a fine of over a million rubles. Sadly, hunters often deal with poaching animals because of insufficient jobs.

90% of the Eastern Pacific leatherback population has declined over the past 30 years.

Sea Turtle Poaching Statistics

Illegal hunting doesn’t take place only on land. Hundreds of ocean animals are also hunted each year.

11. 42% of The World’s Turtle Population Could Become Extinct.

(Source: WWF)

  • Nearly all seven species of sea turtle are considered endangered. The IUCN has established three of them as critical, three as vulnerable, and one already endangered. 
  • Sea turtles have traveled our oceans for over 100 million years. We’re currently causing a fast extinction of the species. 
  • Each year hundreds of thousands of turtles are caught in nets accidentally, which is a massive reason for the species decline.

So, what does this mean for you? 

Turtles are a huge part of keeping ecosystems alive. So, their extinction would impact billions of species, including us. Poaching doesn’t only affect how many animals are in the world, but also their habitats.

13. Only 1% of Turtles Will Reach Childbearing Age

(Source: Poaching Facts)

  • 90% of the Eastern Pacific leatherback population has declined over the past 30 years.
  • Over the past century, the ocean temperature has risen by 32,99°F. It may not seem like much, but it’s detrimental to turtle habitats and reproduction.
  • Indonesian longline vessels accidentally catch 4,950 turtles annually.

How has poaching changed in recent years? While the illegal hunting of turtles has declined, they are still some of the most endangered species. 

Wrap Up

We read poaching facts and think they don’t affect us now, but the truth is, they do.

Unless we make changes soon, we could witness many lovely creatures going extinct, including rhinos, elephants, gorillas, leopards, and turtles. And this is just one of the horrific consequences of climate change.

Poaching statistics bring awareness that might help save at least some species. Spread the word.  


How many animals are poached each year?

Getting an exact number is impossible, but it’s in the millions. The black market doesn’t register any sort of poaching stats. However, we do know that in Africa, a rhino is poached every 22 hours and around 100 elephants are killed each day. 

Why are animals poached?

The biggest reason animal poaching happens is the financial incentive. If the demand wasn’t there for endangered species then the black market wouldn’t exist. Poachers sell live animals, skins, hide, skulls, and different animal parts for medicine or food. 

Where is poaching most common?

There are a few places worldwide, namely Africa, where more than 50% of all poaching happens since the continent has some of the rarest animals in the world. Other popular poaching locations include the US, Brazil, India, Russia, and China.

  1. Save the Rhino
  2. Poaching Facts
  3. World Elephant Day
  4. WWF
  5. WWF
  6. National Geographic
  7. Deutsche Welle
  8. WWF
  9. Thought Co
  10. Conserve Wild Cats
  11. WWF
  12. Poaching Facts
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Emma is a lover of all animals. Her cat Pumpkin enjoys stretching out in the office while mom researches the best information on how to care for their fellow furry friends. Emma’s passion for animals started at a young age. Back then, she dedicated her time to shelters and vet clinics in South Africa. Her enthusiasm for writing and research is behind the most reliable information for pet lovers. She believes in treating animals with the devotion and respect they deserve.