WildLeaks is a new website using the internet to target and investigate the kingpins of illegal wildlife activities, such as poaching, the illegal trafficking of tropical pets and deforestation, among other things. The website utilizes Tor technology to ensure anonymity.
WildLeaks’s first major revelation was the story of how Somalian terrorist group Al-Shabaab had been smuggling ivory to fund their operations.
“We had our first tip within 24 hours and the response has been beyond our wildest imagination,”
says founder Andrea Crosta, who is also the director of the Elephant Action League. Crosta explains that since many of the major wildlife crime operations rely on corrupt law enforcement officials, the site provides whistleblowers a safe avenue to report the crimes:
“You can’t, for example, export containers full of ivory from Mombasa without bribing people left, right and centre… We definitely feel we are filling a gap.”
In the three months it has been operating so far, the site has yielded 24 major tip-offs of wildlife crime, including:
• elephant poaching in Africa and illicit ivory trading in Hong Kong;
• killing of Sumatran tigers, of which there are just 400 left in the wild;
• illegal lion and leopard hunting in South Africa;
• chimpanzee trafficking in Liberia;
• illegal fishing activities in Alaska, including alleged mafia involvement;
• importing of illegal African wildlife products into the US;
• illegal logging in Mexico, Malawi and Siberia
According to Interpol, the illicit wildlife trade makes $10-$20 billion dollars every year. Read the full story from The Guardian here.