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WildLeaks: New Service Allows Anonymous Whistleblowers to Report Wildlife Crime

Feb 19, 2014 02:50 PM EST

The fight against animal poaching and wildlife criminals has a new high-tech ally in the form of WildLeaks, an online forum that lets individuals confidentially report instances of wildlife crime and allows whistleblowers anonymity through encrypted connections via the Tor anonymity network.

The non-profit website allows users to report on instances of wildlife poaching, animal trafficking or illegal logging, which are all crimes that fuel a $17 billion industry that is destroying endangered species and natural resources around the world.

Wildlife crimes often flourish in areas where reporting on them is dangerous.

"Our first priority is to facilitate the identification, arrest and prosecution of criminals, traffickers, businessmen and corrupt governmental officials behind the poaching of endangered species and the trafficking of wildlife and forest products such as ivory, rhino horn, big cats, apes, pangolins, birds and illegal timber," WildLeaks says on its website.

The California-based Elephant Action League is backing the Wildleaks project. Andrea Crosta, project leader of WildLeaks and co-founder of Elephant Action League said in a statement that the endavor puts "a lot of effort into protecting the people who chose to send us information, not only by providing a state-of-the-art secure system but also by managing and using the information in the correct way."

If acting on the provided leaks would in any way put the informant at risk, no action will be taken, according to the WildLeaks web page.

"Organized crime syndicates looting Africa's natural resources are extremely difficult to penetrate, and there are dangers for whistleblowers who expose them," said Fiona Macleod, editor of the Oxpeckers Center for Investigative Environmental Journalists. "We hope that offering a secure platform for information that will be followed up will encourage those with inside information to let us know about it."

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