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Whistleblowing for wildlife

28 / 12 / 2016, Mongabaycom News

From the Lacey Act to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), many laws aim to protect wildlife, but inadequate enforcement makes it hard to identify violations. Wildlife crime often sidesteps official surveillance, but those involved in the illegal activity and independent citizens can bear witness to such lawbreaking. As Stephen Kohn, a founder of the National Whistleblower Center (NWC), points out in the Environmental Law Reporter, both those laws—apart from several others pertaining to wildlife—“include language providing monetary incentives to persons who disclose information about wildlife crimes, but these provisions have not been effectively implemented.” Wildtech spoke with NWC’s Chief Operating Officer Ashley Binetti earlier this month to learn how the organization’s emerging Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program works to counter wildlife crime and promote conservation by harnessing such whistleblower reward laws. The innovation consists of a secure website where potential whistleblowers can confidentially and anonymously submit intelligence on wildlife crime, as well as an attorney referral service that assists them in accessing rewards for their contributions by invoking applicable legal award provisions. [caption id="attachment_191936" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] The NWC's Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program helps whistleblowers securely provide tips on wildlife crime online and receive monetary compensation through legal reward provisions. Photo credit: NWC.[/caption] Wildtech: Can you describe the NWC whistleblower platform and its significance for conservation? Binetti: The NWC has been doing advocacy for 30 years. Not too long ago, Executive Director Stephen Kohn found that important wildlife laws like the Lacey Act and ESA have whistleblower reward provisions whereby if someone…

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