Wildlife whistle blowers

From The Optimist Magazine
Summer 2014

WildLeaks.org is a whistle-blowing website where people can anonymously submit information about wildlife and forest crime. Andrea Crosta, executive director of the Elephant Action League, an elephant-welfare group, started WildLeaks in early February. So far the site has received anonymous tips for crimes ranging from tiger poaching in Indonesia and illegal logging in Malawi to trading chimpanzees in Liberia and the killing of wolves and bears in Northern Europe.

Why did you set up WildLeaks?

“I have over 24 years’ experience in conservation. From my past work, I saw in many fields that these leaks actually work. I thought, Let’s do something like that for wildlife and forest crime.”

Take us through the process from receiving a tip to actually putting someone away for a wildlife crime.

“First we receive the leak and evaluate it to separate a good leak from a bad one. We then begin or continue an investigation ourselves. When an investigation is not the most effective option, we share the information with law enforcement agencies or leak the information to the media. If our group thinks that by using this information we will be putting the source’s life in danger, then we won’t use it.”

How long after I submit a leak will I be contacted by WildLeaks?

“That’s the point and the beauty of the system: I cannot contact a source. However, you can contact us, with a 10-digit number we provide after a leak is submitted. With this 10-digit number you can get back to us in an anonymous way and get back to the original submission, to add more information or open an anonymous chat with us.

How can someone help WildLeaks?

“Even more important than donations is to spread the word about WildLeaks. Sometimes you know about a crime, but you just don’t know where your information can be useful. If you know something, there is WildLeaks.” | Daniel Hills | More info: wildleaks.org

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