Today, September 22, is World Rhino Day. Rhino numbers have declined dramatically over recent years as a result of poaching for their horns, which is believed to have medicinal value in some Asian countries. Whistleblower reward laws are a crucial tool for halting illegal wildlife poaching and trafficking, and can be especially important to protecting rhinos.
Supporting whistleblowers can serve as an effective tactic in fighting illegal wildlife trafficking, poaching, and deforestation. Whistleblower provisions in the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act, as well as others, incentivize whistleblowers to come forward with information, such as tips about wildlife trafficking, by providing monetary rewards to the whistleblower.
Incentivizing whistleblowers to come forward relies on systems that make it easy to confidentially and safely report these crimes; the Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program, a Grand Prize winner of the Crime Tech Challenge sponsored by USAID, helps raise awareness of these laws and provides an avenue for reporting.
What you can do to help today
The Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018 (H.R. 5697) is a bipartisan bill that will radically increase wildlife crime enforcement and activate wildlife whistleblowers around the globe. Support this effort by writing to your Representatives, urging them to vote in favor of landmark anti-wildlife trafficking legislation.
Learn more about how incentivizing whistleblowers can combat wildlife crime:
- Stephen Kohn, Environmental Law Review (46 ELR 10056, 2016), “Monetary Rewards for Wildlife Whistleblowers: A Game-Changer in Wildlife Trafficking Detection and Deterrence.”
- Beth Allgood, US Country Director for International Fund for Animal Welfare, September 4, 2018, The Role of Whistleblower Protections in Wildlife Conservation
- Scott Hajost, Managing Director of the Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program at the National Whistleblower Center, August 24, 2018, Empowering whistleblowers is the key to combating wildlife crime.
See also: BBC: The story of rhinos and how they conquered the world.