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Whistle-Blowing Website Wildleaks Targets Powerful Poaching Networks

Whistle-Blowing Website Wildleaks Targets Powerful Poaching Networks

Written by Megan Treacy

Wildleaks, a new website in the vein of WikiLeaks has set its sights on taking down powerful poaching networks and illegal logging operations. The site says it is the first anonymous and secure whistle-blowing site dedicated to wildlife and forest crime and it couldn’t come any sooner.

Poaching has skyrocketed in recent years as the black market for rhino horn, elephant ivory and tiger parts has grown rapidly. A large part of these transactions are controlled by poweful networks of wealthy traffickers that have previously been untouchable.

The anonymous and secure nature of Wildleaks lets people give tips on poaching activity while staying safe themselves.

After it launched in February, WildLeaks received its first tip within 24 hours. To date the project has gotten over 45 tips and leaks, with at least 28 deemed to be useful, including tiger poaching in Sumatra, illegal logging in Russia and Mexico and even wildlife products being smuggled into the U.S.

“We got, for example, a very interesting leak on a very powerful individual in Kenya, linked to the government, who is behind the ivory trade,” said founder Andrea Crosta, a former security consultant and longtime conservationist.

The site is able to protect whistleblowers by using encryption and anonymity software. The tips and reports are then turned over to people who can take action against these crimes like law enforcement agencies or trusted conservation organizations that specialize in those areas.

The site is targeting large poaching and trafficking operations because the founders believe it will make the greatest difference.

“Unlike others operating in the field… we are not after small-time poachers or traffickers, but the people above them, including corrupt government officials,” Crosta said.

No arrests have been made yet as investigations take time, but the founders know that the more people who know about the site, the better chance they have of stopping some of these networks and saving endangered animals.

This post originally appeared on TreeHugger.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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97 comments

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9:54PM PDT on Sep 7, 2014

i really hope this site is successful and turns into a great deterent for the poachers. But I believe that the punishment still needs to fit the crime. Thanks for sharing.

11:13AM PDT on Sep 4, 2014

A step in the right direction.I know a few people that should have their actions reported on Wildleaks!!!

10:53AM PDT on Sep 2, 2014

Fantastic news, hope it helps.

10:52AM PDT on Sep 2, 2014

Fantastic news let's hope this helps. Fingers Crossed.

7:34AM PDT on Sep 1, 2014

Interesting article, thank you!

11:44PM PDT on Aug 31, 2014

Love it, but I'm sure there are many posts on this site to throw officials off track.

8:29AM PDT on Aug 31, 2014

great news, thank you.

3:15AM PDT on Aug 31, 2014

Great news! Let's hope this site becomes part of efforts regally used to fight poaching and illegal logging!

10:55PM PDT on Aug 30, 2014

I think I'd live to see happen to the poachers , what happens to there prey .and if that isn't enough of a deterrent , then also to there families .the poachers families that is .

4:13PM PDT on Aug 30, 2014

This site sounds great! I pray that it will be 100% successful in exposing these scum wildlife killers.I wish some rich billionaire conservationist would help fund it in a big way with a spy team one in each guilty country. Pay for drones & small groups of wildlife warriours. It would be fantastic , a real force for the planets animals. instead of half hearted ,uncommitted corrupt politicians !

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