Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program

On January 30, 2019, Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2019 (H.R. 864). This bipartisan, groundbreaking legislation enhances the ability of informants worldwide to detect and report wildlife crimes. It also strengthens the laws criminalizing trafficking.

In a joint press release, both representatives recognized the importance of halting poachers, traffickers, and transnational criminal organizations—all of which are responsible for exacerbating the global extinction crisis. Furthermore, as Congressman Garamendi points out, “Our bipartisan bill advances American leadership in tackling the global wildlife trafficking and poaching crisis at no cost to the American taxpayer.” Continue Reading Landmark Bill Combating Wildlife Trafficking Reintroduced in the House

If poachers and wildlife trafficking networks operate like international criminal syndicates, why not treat them that way? That’s one approach outlined in a bill reintroduced in Congress today designed to bolster efforts to use whistleblower rewards to stop wildlife crime. 

The bill aims to address problems with existing wildlife whistleblower programs that were identified in May by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). It expands on existing whistleblower provisions and calls for new rules and the authority to enforce them.

The Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act was reintroduced by Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska – who calls himself an avid sportsman — and California Democrat John Garamendi, who describes himself a conservationist and outdoorsman.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “NOAA) each currently have the option to reward whistleblowers who expose poaching, trafficking and other wildlife crimes. But, the 2018 GAO audit found that agencies’ programs are underused and inefficiently implemented.

The Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act would give more muscle to existing programs. The bill also would require that penalties and fine from prosecutions be redistributed to wildlife conservation efforts.

Continue Reading Bill would bolster reward programs that allow US agencies to fight wildlife crime with whistleblowers

Laws on the books designed to protect wildlife whistleblowers have been underutilized, according to a spring report from the Government Accounting Office.  Now, two groups devoted to wildlife protection have joined with the National Whistleblower Center to help ensure that U.S. agencies use the tools they have to protect animals and fisheries and prevent trafficking.

Thinking Animals United is an advocacy group that works “to galvanize worldwide support for the care, protection, and conservation of animals and other species.”  It has signed an agreement with the NWC to “develop joint endeavors, and exchange information with regards to addressing the relationship between environmental crime, economic growth, and national security,” according to a statement from the two groups. Continue Reading Wildlife whistleblowers and advocates collaborate to “strengthen capacity to implement and enforce environmental requirements.”

corruption TimberProtecting and incentivizing whistleblowers is essential to combat environmental crimes

The world is facing daunting environmental challenges, many exacerbated by corruption. A number of the planet’s protected species are disappearing rapidly, due in part to the illegal trade in flora and fauna, and corruption comes into play as traffickers often rely on fraudulent paperwork to move parts from endangered species and illegal timber across borders. Continue Reading Corruption: Planet earth is being sold out

Fresh water turtlesA recent investigation into wildlife trafficking highlights the importance of improving whistleblower incentives in the wildlife crimes sphere. Through “Operation Dragon,” the Wildlife Justice Commission (“WJC”) investigated the ties between the trafficking of endangered and CITES-listed freshwater turtles and the corruption that facilitates that illicit trade. Over the course of two years, WJC used undercover investigators to document operations of eight major trafficking networks in South Asia and the corrupt customs and transportation officials that consistently enabled the trafficking. The investigation allowed law enforcement to significantly disrupt these networks, arresting 30 individuals and seizing over 6,000 freshwater turtles. Wholesale value for a batch of 6,000 averages $3 million. Continue Reading As Anti-Corruption Day Approaches, WJC Report Reminds Us of the Importance of Whistleblower Incentives

Wildlife whistleblowersThe International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) was formed in 1989 by the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency and the Netherlands’ Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment on the need for greater collaboration between environmental compliance and enforcement actors globally. To date, it remains the only global organization focused exclusively on improving compliance with environmental law through effective compliance promotion and enforcement at all levels of governance. By partnering with the National Whistleblower Center, INECE hopes to help address the relationship between environmental crime, economic growth, and national security. Continue Reading Knowledge exchange at the forefront of environmental law enforcement

National WhistleblowerToday is GivingTuesday– a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations worldwide to encourage people to donate to the causes close to their heart. The National Whistleblower Center, the nation’s leading whistleblower advocacy organization, has a 30-year history of fighting corruption. The NWC announced its 2018 GivingTuesday campaign by sharing a few highlights from the year.Support National Whistleblower Continue Reading On GivingTuesday Help the National Whistleblower Center Fight Corruption

National Whistleblower Center urges denial of destruction of documents On October 24, 2018, the Department of Interior (DOI) sent a request to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) asking for permission to destroy documents from every agency within the Department of Interior. These agencies include the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and others. The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) says this request should be denied. Continue Reading National Whistleblower Center Urges Denial of Department of Interior Document Destruction Request

sea-turtle-swimming-in-the-oceanWhistleblowers are our last line of defense to protect our oceans. As the “Our Ocean Conference 2018” (OOC 2018) is set to open tomorrow in Bali, Indonesia, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) hopes to bring awareness about the important role whistleblowers can play in the detection of illegal fishing and marine pollution. Continue Reading Calling on Whistleblowers to Help Protect Our Oceans

Facebook-iconIn a letter delivered to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, October 9, 2018, the National Whistleblower Center (“NWC”) requested that Facebook immediately start cooperating with the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) efforts to investigate and halt wildlife trafficking. Continue Reading Facebook Uncooperative in DOJ Wildlife Trafficking Investigations