WildLeaks: Giving Voice to the Powerless, Animal and Human

WildLeaks: Giving Voice to the Powerless, Animal and Human

Abby Zimet

With wildlife crime the most immediate threat to many species and the world's fourth largest transnational crime after drugs, counterfeiting and human trafficking, this month saw the launch of WildLeaks, the first secure, online whistleblower platform for crimes like illegal logging, poaching of endangered species, trafficking of live animals like apes, birds and big cats, and buying and selling the coveted parts of dead ones - ivory, horn, bone - for the "luxury" trade. A non-profit project by the California-based Elephant Action League in conjunction with an array of environmental investigative groups, WildLeaks seeks anonymous tips on wildlife and forest crimes in hopes of arresting and prosecuting criminal traffickers, businessmen and government officials. Much like Wikileaks, it argues "the most important weapon the world has" - in this case against international wildlife traffickers - "(is) an informed public." For a sense of what's at stake, see astounding video of Kevin Richardson, a self-taught South African zoologist who raised several lions from infancy, now lives and cavorts with them, passionately fights their loss of habitat, and runs a wildlife sanctuary whose goal is to "illuminate the desperate plight of the lion and their carnivore cousins."

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