National Whistleblower Day

Protections for wildlife whistleblowers greatly enhanced

Washington, D.C. February 10, 2016.  The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge announced that the National Whistleblower Center won its People’s Choice competition.  The National Whistleblower Center’s “Secured Internet Wildlife Crime Reporting System” received the most votes in the worldwide competition.

The NWC’s project was one of 44 projects from around the world eligible for the People’s Choice competition. NWC was also recently named one of 16 Challenge Prize Winners.

“Winning this vote is a huge victory for whistleblowers and wildlife protection.  It demonstrates that people from around the world strongly support whistleblowers, and understand that incentivizing the reporting of illegal wildlife trafficking is key to stopping the destruction of protected forests, the killing of endangered species and the protection of fish from illegal and unregulated fishing,” said Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center.

The “Secure Internet Wildlife Crime Reporting System” is an integral part of the NWC’s campaign to protect wildlife crime whistleblowers. This system will address wildlife trafficking by enabling whistleblowers around the world to safely and anonymously file reports of wildlife crimes to the appropriate authorities, and ensure that these courageous whistleblowers qualify for monetary rewards. The NWC’s campaign seeks to educate whistleblowers globally on how the wildlife whistleblower laws work.

In January 2016 the Environmental Law Journal published Mr. Kohn’s article, Monetary Rewards for Wildlife Whistleblowers: A Game-Changer in Wildlife Whistleblowing, which laid out the framework for the NWC’s campaign to protect wildlife crime whistleblowers.  The article highlighted the existence of whistleblower reward laws in key wildlife legislation, including the Lacey and Endangered Species Act, and called for the aggressive implementation of these laws.

The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge program, is an initiative of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution, and TRAFFIC.

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