Poaching Statistics Overview

Few countries provide statistics on the number of poachers arrested or killed, wildlife illegally killed, or the number of rangers and other personnel killed in the line of duty. This page summarizes a variety of statistics available from reliable sources of hard data. PoachingFacts.com strives to use only a minimum of estimates based on peer-reviewed scientific studies when describing population increases or losses, preferring hard data when available.

Ivory poaching and the resulting trafficking is a widespread issue throughout all of Africa, but many nations are securing what populations they have left to safeguard the ecological heritage of their country as well as to retain a strong tourism industry. Many of these nations depend on their natural heritage to bring in tourists who greatly stimulate the economy.

Detailed Statistics
Ranger Deaths
Wildlife Crime Arrests
Poaching Statistics Summary

Anti-Poaching Rangers Killed, Wildlife-Related Arrests Made

Sean Willmore, president of the International Ranger Federation and founder of the Thin Green Line Foundation, estimates that about 2 rangers are killed each week, but that the number could be higher. This number signifies individuals employed as anti-poaching rangers by profession, not military personnel or other individuals that might take part in ground or air operations.

Few countries publish crime statistics relating to the number of poachers arrested due to varying types of poaching, different penalties for different types of poaching, and potentially long trial processes. Below is data from countries that do provide such information on arrests.

Kenya: 1,549 suspects were arrested and prosecuted in 2013 (KWS Annual Report 2013, pg. 16) for environmental crimes. During that time 3 KWS rangers were killed in the line of duty and 2 were injured. According to the same report (page 15) arrests of poachers resulted in the recovery of 45 kilograms (99 pounds) of rhino horn, 10,106 kg (22,280 pounds) of bushmeat, and 23,145 kg (51,025 pounds) of ivory.

South Africa: In 2013 there were 343 poachers arrested or killed throughout the country. According to Major-General Johan Jooste 133 of those poachers were neutralized in Kruger National Park, with 47 of those individuals killed during shoot-outs with anti-poaching rangers. 386 suspected poachers were arrested during 2014; these represent rhino poachers and the couriers that carry the horn, poaching syndicate members, and criminal syndicate associates.

Summary of Poaching Statistics by Country

India: Home to a vast array of wildlife species that rivals the African continent’s, India continues to suffer from human-wildlife conflict and cohabitation problems but has a growing poaching problem due to demand from Southeast Asia. During 2014 the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) reported 23 verified deaths of tigers due to poaching, but 58 due to other, sometimes unknown, causes. They also reported the deaths of 17 leopards due to poaching, however 30 more died that year due to other causes. The most recent data from 2013 shows that 38 elephants and 41 rhinoceros were poached that year.

Kenya: The most recent data from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) reported the loss of 59 rhino and 302 elephants due to poaching in 2013 (see KWS Annual Report 2013, page 16).

Mozambique: A haven of poachers and criminal syndicates that traffick ivory and rhino horn to intermediaries who then smuggle the parts out of Africa, Mozambique releases little data on the elephants and rhino poached within its borders.

Namibia: A very safe country for tourists and wildlife, in 2014 Namibia lost only 24 rhinoceros to poaching. Data on elephant poaching is scarce, but one source reports 116 elephant deaths due to poaching from January 2012 – May 2014.

South Africa: According to the SAN Parks 2013-2014 Annual Report (page 14) only two elephants were poached during the review period. However in 2013 there were 1,004 rhino killed and throughout 2014 there were 1,215 rhino killed. In those same periods 343 and 386 suspected poachers were arrested or killed by authorities.

Detailed Statistics

For more detailed statistics please visit the in-depth pages: