New Tool to Combat Wildlife Trafficking
Washington, D.C. October 27, 2015. The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) announced today the launch of a new campaign to protect wildlife crime whistleblowers. This campaign was developed in response to inquiries from anti-trafficking NGOs and government officials who sought a way to incentivize whistleblowers to report wildlife crimes.
The NWC identified seven major wildlife laws, (including the Lacey and Endangered Species Acts), with provisions that require payment of monetary rewards to wildlife crime whistleblowers whose information leads to successful enforcement actions. These laws are already in existence but have never been implemented.
“It is tragic that wildlife crime whistleblower laws exist yet the government agencies tasked with enforcing these laws have done nothing to inform the public about them,” stated Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the NWC. “Since 1981, the Departments of the Interior, Commerce, Treasury, and Agriculture were mandated by Congress to institute a wildlife whistleblower rewards program, yet over 30 years has passed and there are still no regulations in place to enforce these reward provisions. This must change,” Kohn added.
“In other areas of the economy where whistleblower reward laws have been implemented the results have been phenomenally successful, resulting in record civil and criminal recoveries. The evidence clearly supports a finding that, if implemented in the fight against wildlife crimes, the impact would be profound and revolutionary,” Kohn said.
The NWC’s campaign will educate whistleblowers globally on how the wildlife whistleblower laws work. The program also includes the creation of an international wildlife crime reporting system. This system will address wildlife trafficking by enabling whistleblowers around the world to safely and anonymously file reports of wildlife crimes to the appropriate authorities, and ensure that these courageous whistleblowers qualify for monetary rewards.
The NWC has issued an Action Alert urging the President to ensure that the Departments of the Interior, Commerce, Treasury, and Agriculture promptly adopt policies that will effectuate these critical laws.
Visit the NWC’s Wildlife Crime Whistleblower Protection Campaign website for more information.