Did you know that humans kill 1,000 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 

  • US trophy hunters are killing more than 100 million animals every year.
  • Illegal wildlife trade had an estimated value of 119 billion dollars in 2020. 
  • Roughly 30,000 species are led to extinction every year. 
  • South Africa is home to more than 80% of the world’s rhino population.
  • 11,000 rhinos have been poached since 2008.
  • Each day, poachers kill 100 elephants in Africa for ivory, meat, and body parts.
  • A rhino is poached every 22 hours.
  • Just over 1000 gorillas are still alive.
  • There are only 2 Northern White Rhinos left.
  • 42% of the world’s turtle population could become extinct.

What Is Animal Poaching?

Poaching is the illegal capture, killing, and hunting of wild animals for financial incentives. All types of poaching are illegal worldwide. Although the poaching law protects animals, people still find a way to keep this billion-dollar industry going. Wildlife trafficking ranks fourth among the largest illegal businesses, the number one being narcotics.

Animals are sometimes kept alive and sold as “pets”, while others die 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

The history of poaching tells us that 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. 9,885 Rhinos Have Been Poached in Africa in the Last Decade.

(Source: Save the Rhino)

  • Rhino poaching facts for South Africa show that 451 rhinos were killed in 2021. That’s the first increase in six years, and it might be related to lifting COVID-19 restrictions as poachers can move freely. 
  • The numbers have been decreasing but are still massively high. On average, a rhino is poached every 22 hours.
  • The Javan rhino is among the critically endangered species, with only 67 Javan rhinos left in the world.
  • Cases of rhino poaching increased by 13% between 2017 and 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic helped reduce illegal hunting in South Africa, but lifting restrictions has had the opposite effect. 
  • South Africa is home to more than 80% of the world’s rhino population.

Rhino poaching is a severe issue in Africa because they have the biggest population of animals. 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)

  • Due to poaching, rhinos’ population has decreased by 60% in Kruger National Park in South Africa since 2013.
  • 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 poached a total of 451 rhinos in 2021. 
  • While COVID-19 has ravaged most countries, it has also saved many rhinos due to the lockdowns and limited travel. Of the poached rhinos in 2021, 209 were poached for their horns in the Kruger National Park. That’s a slight decrease from 247 rhinos poached in national parks in 2020.
  • By 2030, rhino poaching is expected to increase by 356%. By 2034, rhinos might not exist in the wild anymore.

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 outweighs reproduction. Experts estimate that elephants will be extinct within the next decade. Your chance to experience this beautiful animal is running out.
  • Indian elephant poaching statistics show that male elephants are more vulnerable than females. This is mainly because only male Indian elephants have tusks, and that`s the reason why people are poaching elephants in the first place. This disruption in the breeding population can influence their extinction.

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. The same can be said for animal testing, if the demand wasn’t there it would cease to exist. 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.
  • The African elephant population has decreased from 10 million elephants in the 1930s to 415,000 in 2021. The main reasons behind this drastic decrease are climate change, pouching, and loss of habitat.
  • Asian numbers of the population have dropped by 50% over the last three generations. Overall, scientists notice a biodiversity loss worldwide due to the decline.

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

sad gorilla looking at the camera

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. There Are Only 880 Mountain Gorillas Left.

(Source: Adventure In The Wild Safaris)

  • The Mountain Gorilla was discovered in 1902. The exact number of gorillas that have lost their lives within the last 100 years is unknown, as they live in densely forested areas. But the numbers are in the thousands, 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 2021, two Mountain Gorillas were born in Virunga National Park.
  • The main threat gorillas 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.
  • Poachers kill 5% of Western Lowland Gorillas in Congo each year. They’re mostly killed while trying to capture baby gorillas for pets.  
  • 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. 

amur tiger walking through the woods

Tiger Poaching Statistics

Turns out Tiger King wasn’t an exaggeration. Despite being an expensive pet to take care of, let`s see why people love hunting tigers so much.

7. The Documented Poached Tigers in India in 2021 Were 56. 

(Source: Poaching Facts)

  • It might not sound like a lot, but this is the highest number since 2008. And we can only imagine the statistics on undocumented cases. 
  • Although the Bengal tiger is the most numerous among the wild tiger population, its existence is under threat because of trophy hunting, poaching, and climate change. US trophy hunters are killing more than 100 million animals every year.
  • 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.
  • Texas has the second largest tiger population. The state has between 2,000 and 5,000 tigers. The number is more than those in the wild, where they’re approximately 3,800.

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

The bizarre sport called trophy hunting takes its toll on the Bengal tiger because of their pelts and the profitable trade of tiger body parts. Even though trophy hunting is legal, it is considered a threat to the animal population.

8. Fewer Than 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.

amur leopard walking through the grass

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 overhunted 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.
  • Panthera, the wildcat conservation organization, reported that the lion population has dropped 43% in the last 21 years. Also, some wildlife poaching statistics show that poaching for lion body parts is the cause of 35% of the lion killings.
  • 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.

sea turtle swimming in clear water

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. 
  • 50,000 marine turtles are poached in the South Pacific and Southeast Asia every year. They’re hunted for their eggs and meat, which are considered culinary delicacies. 
  • 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. 

american bear looking sad at the camera

Poaching in the US

Poaching isn’t just a massive issue in Asia and Africa. In the US, poachers are mainly targeting fish, shellfish, the American black bear, and ram sheep. 

14. Around 1,358 Animals Were Poached in the US per Year Between 2016 and 2021.

(Source: Game Warden)

  • The Oregon state police reported 316 poached sturgeons between 2012 and 2018. This gives a rising concern about preserving the fish population. 
  • Dried bear gallbladders sell for $30,000 on the black market. Facts about poaching show that illegal hunters also target the bears for their hide, bile, and paws. These parts are widely used in Eastern medicine.
  • Utah reported 1,153 illegally killed animals in 2021. They mostly included deer, elk, moose, sheep, bears, cougars, and fish. The estimated total value for these animals was $610,000.
  • Just 8 red wolves remained in the wild in 2021. Their population numbered 130 in 2016, but illegal killings and mismanagement drastically reduced red wolves in the wild. There were no new wild litters in 2019 and 2020.

While these poaching rates aren’t as alarming as those in Asia and Africa, they can still lead to dwindling populations. 

Positive Statistics on Poaching

2021 brought us some good news regarding poaching. It remains to be seen whether that’s just the result of the COVID-19 pandemic or whether humanity has finally learned its lesson and is trying to protect endangered species actively.

15. The Black Rhino Population Has Increased by 17% Since 2011.

(Source: International Rhino Foundation)

  • While the Black Rhino is still critically endangered, there are currently over 5,500 representatives of the species. 
  • In 2021, Kenya had its first zero poaching year since 2020. 
  • Poaching numbers for 2021 show that the Chinese demand for ivory is declining. The country passed a national ban in 2018, which seems to be working.
  • 38 fewer rhinos were poached in South African National Parks in 2021 compared to 2020. Poaching in Africa statistics show that the joint efforts of the government, state-owned conservation areas, and private landowners have led to less poaching. 

Recently established laws against poaching have led to fewer animals being killed, but is that a permanent solution? We’ll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, there are a few ways in which you can also make an impact. 

What Can I Do to Help?

If you are willing to help, here are some ideas if you don`t know where to start:

  • Educate yourself.  If you want to debate something, be prepared to learn the newest and most reliable information about the topic. We suggest reading again the statistics about poaching animals around the world, and you are ready to go.
  • Sign a petition. This is something that can be done in the comfort of your home. Petitions have proven to be a powerful and influential way of bringing global problems to light. When it comes to poaching you can start by signing petitions like Anti-Poaching Efforts for Rhinos and  Support Ban on Ivory Sales.
  • Donate and volunteer. Donate and volunteer. Many organizations that fight such problems accept donations, and any amount can make a difference. Alternatively, you can volunteer at an organization against poaching.

Last but not least, spread the word and tell your friends about the animals that can go extinct. Plus, it`s more interesting if you can share your thoughts and opinions with someone else.

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, red pandas, leopards, and turtles. And this is just one of the horrific consequences of climate change.

These statistics about poaching bring awareness that might help save at least some species. Spread the word.  

FAQ

When did poaching start?

Poaching has been around since the Middle Ages, and it became illegal towards the end of the period. The rise of poaching as the problem we know today came around during the 1800s when outlaw gangs started selling animals on the black market. 

Why is poaching bad?

Poaching drives many animal species to extinction and destroys their natural habitat. This killing for profit changes the planet’s environment and depletes its resources. 

Is poaching illegal?

Yes, poaching is the illegal capture and killing of animals for profit. While it’s illegal, it continues to be among the highest paying jobs in some parts of the world.

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 for animal poaching because of 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. 

Why do people kill elephants?

Poachers kill elephants for their tusks that are made of ivory. This material has an extremely high cultural valuable, so poachers make a steady profit from selling it on the black market.

Why do people kill rhinos?

Poachers kill rhinos for their horns. The demand for them is high in Asian countries, especially China and Vietnam, where the horns are a status symbol and part of traditional medicine. 

Where is poaching most common?

When it comes to poaching geography, Africa is 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. 

What should you do if you see a poacher?

Do not confront the poacher. Instead, try to remember as many details about them as possible and report everything via a poacher hotline in your local area or call the police. 

What animals are being poached the most?

Poaching statistics show that the Pangolin is the most poached animal in the world. In fact, it is 82 times more poached than rhinos and 1,000 times more compared to tigers. As a result, more than 100,000 pangolins are poached every year, putting all eight species in danger of extinction.

  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
  13. Sentient Media
  14. Green Tumble
  15. IAPG.org
  16. Siyabona Africa
  17. WWF
  18. One Green Planet
  19. PLOS ONE
  20. Center for Biological Diversity
  21. DFFE South Africa
  22. NRDC
  23. Adventure In The Wild Safaris
  24. Poaching Facts
  25. WWF 
  26. International Rhino Foundation
  27. WWF
  28. Game Warden
  29. NY Wolf
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