Wildlife Whistleblowers

Today, September 22, is World Rhino Day. Rhino numbers have declined dramatically over recent years as a result of poaching for their horns, which is believed to have medicinal value in some Asian countries. Whistleblower reward laws are a crucial tool for halting illegal wildlife poaching and trafficking, and can be especially important to protecting rhinos.

Supporting whistleblowers can serve as an effective tactic in fighting illegal wildlife trafficking, poaching, and deforestation. Whistleblower provisions in the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act, as well as others, incentivize whistleblowers to come forward with information, such as tips about wildlife trafficking, by providing monetary rewards to the whistleblower. Continue Reading Incentivizing Whistleblowers Can Help Combat Trafficking of Rhino Horn

The Securities and Exchange Commission building, located in Washington, D.C.

Members of Congress are urging the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate the illegal trafficking of wildlife on Facebook. On May 14th, Representatives Raul Grijalva (AZ) and Jared Huffman (CA) filed a letter to the SEC saying that Facebook was breaking laws that require public companies to protect shareholders and prevent illegal activity. The letter demanded an investigation into the illegal wildlife trafficking on Facebook.

D.C.-based law firm Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto (KKC) sparked the Congressional inquiry after filing a complaint with the SEC alleging the social media giant facilitates illicit trade in wildlife products. KKC previously filed the anonymous complaint against Facebook in August 2017.

Continue Reading ABC News Washington Story Highlights Congressional Inquiry into Illegal Wildlife Trafficking on Facebook

Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) whistleblower law brings dividends

WASHINGTON, D.C. | May 11, 2018—In an analysis of 100 recent Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) prosecutions available on Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), court records reveal that whistleblowers were responsible for over 75% of all successful cases in the years ranging from 1993-2017. Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto LLP (KKC) completed this review in order to provide a snapshot of how the whistleblower reward provision has been implemented in APPS cases.

According to a statistical analysis conducted by KKC, the United States obtained over $270 million in sanctions from 100 polluters and paid 206 whistleblowers a total of more than $33 million in rewards under APPS. Additionally, over $63 million was ordered by courts to be used for beneficial purposes in fighting ocean pollution. Organizations that received restitutions include the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Continue Reading Whistleblower Detection Credited in 76% of Last 100 APPS Cases

Landmark Anti-Wildlife Trafficking Legislation Introduced in the House

Bill contains whistleblower protections, enhanced enforcement and restitution provisions 

WASHINGTON, D.C. | MAY 8, 2018 — Today, Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) introduced the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018. This groundbreaking legislation enhances the ability of informants worldwide to detect and report wildlife crimes.

To learn more about the bill, visit the National Whistleblower Center’s website.

Continue Reading Landmark Bill Combating Wildlife Trafficking Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives

Whistleblower Law Expert Responds to GAO Report on Combating Wildlife Trafficking

Washington, D.C. May 8, 2018. In a report released today, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued wide-ranging recommendations to increase the effectiveness of paying informants and whistleblowers to report illegal wildlife trafficking. Continue Reading U.S. Government Accountability Office Urges Federal Government to Take Stronger Action to Promote Wildlife Crime Whistleblowers

Ambassador Robert Whitehead, U.S. Embassy Togo, inspects seized ivory (2014)

News outlets around the United States have picked up and expanded upon an Associated Press story about the whistleblower complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lodged against Facebook. The story has been published in news sources in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Continue Reading Facebook Wildlife Trafficking Report Spreads Around World 

In his testimony before Congress last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg received tough questions from members of Congress about wildlife trafficking and the illegal ivory trade on his two-billion user social media site.

At the Joint Senate Committee Hearing, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) referenced a recent Time article examining illicit wildlife crime on Facebook, stating, “wildlife traffickers are continuing to use Facebook tools to advertise illegal sales of protected animal parts.” Zuckerberg responded, “we’re going to have more than 20,000 people at the company working on security and content review.”

Continue Reading Congress Questions Facebook CEO on Wildlife Crime

An AP news story reports that an anonymous whistleblower has filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleging that Facebook is facilitating and profiting from illegal wildlife trafficking on its social media platform. The anonymous whistleblower’s attorneys at Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto, LLP, (KKC) issued a press release and statements from the whistleblower. The full press release can be read here.

Continue Reading Whistleblower Alleges Facebook Facilitates Wildlife Trafficking

The Hindustan Times has recently published a story on a 60-ton illegal timber seizure in Maharashtra, India that was initiated by a whistleblower. Since May 2017, over 500 tons of illegally-cut timber have been seized by authorities in the west-central Indian state. The value of the timber seized over the past 11 months is an estimated 20 million Indian rupees, or approximately $308,000 USD.

The tip-off led to not only the seizure of 30 tons each of teak and khair wood, but also the closure of an illegal saw mill that was functioning as a timber depot. The seizure demonstrates the powerful role whistleblowers play in combatting the illicit timber trade.

Continue Reading Whistleblower Tip Leads To 60-Ton Illegal Timber Seizure Outside Mumbai

Today the National Whistleblower Center is excited to celebrate World Wildlife Day, a day that commemorates the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 45 years ago in Washington, D.C. CITES was an important step forward in promoting the protection of wildlife and biodiversity around the world. While this is a day to celebrate, we should also remember that wildlife is currently under threat like never before. We are currently in the midst of a global extinction crisis.

Continue Reading National Whistleblower Center Celebrates World Wildlife Day