Part of the “Quick Peek” Series, exploring the NEW edition of Stephen Kohn‘s Whistleblower’s Handbook.

Whistleblowers are the key to ending wildlife trafficking and Stephen Kohn, the executive director of the National Whistleblower Center, knows it. There are over forty U.S. wildlife protection laws with Whistleblower rewards built into them. Unfortunately, for over 30 years no one has used reward provisions to activate whistleblowers to report wildlife crime (the first such provision was added the Lacey Act in 1981).

Despite the availability of powerful wildlife whistleblower laws to could be used to detect and disincentivize crime, illegal wildlife trafficking has continued on its devastating path, growing exponentially, as Kohn details in the new edition of The Whistleblower’s Handbook. Insiders—including whistleblowers within the criminal organizations, government employees who can identify who is taking a bribe, and ship crews that haul illegal wildlife products—are some of the best informants to incentivize.  These are the people with information who can bring wildlife trafficking to a halt.

Congress understood this when it amended the Lacey Act to include a whistleblower reward provision, and similarly ensured that rewards for informants would apply to over over forty U.S. wildlife protection laws. While most whistleblower reward laws, like the False Claims Act, cap rewards at around 30% of recovered funds, wildlife whistleblower reward laws, like the Lacey Act and the Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act, have no cap.

The wildlife reward provisions have never been properly publicized, and there is currently no central office where informants can confidentially report wildlife crime and apply for whistleblower rewards. The National Whistleblower Center, through its Global Widllife Whistleblower Program, is hoping to change the game and ensure that these laws live up to their true potential. As Mr. Kohn states in the newly updated Whistleblower Handbook, “When fully implemented, the wildlife whistleblower laws will have significant worldwide impact.”

The new edition of The Whistleblower’s Handbook A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself will be released in July 2017.  You can reserve your copy of this highly acclaimed Whistleblower’s Handbook now by making a tax-exempt donation of $50 or more to the National Whistleblower Center. Your donation will support the NWC’s work to protect the brave individuals that put themselves on the line to protect us all. The forthcoming edition is fully updated, with new sections on wildlife whistleblowing, combating foreign corruption, and an international anti-corruption toolkit.