MOSCOW, August 25 (RIA Novosti) - Online whistleblower platform dedicated to wildlife and forest crimes, Wildleaks, is targeting corrupt officials in Africa, fueling the fight against the illegal poaching of animals such as elephants and rhinos, as demand for ivory and rhino horn increases.
"It does appear to be a new approach within the wildlife crime sector," said Richard Thomas from TRAFFIC, the world’s leading wildlife trade monitoring network, according to AFP.
"It could prove its worth over time, if useful information is received and directed towards appropriate professional enforcement agencies for follow-up action," Thomas added.
WildLeaks allows whistleblowers to anonymously report wildlife crimes that could potentially lead to the identification, arrest, and prosecution of criminals, traffickers and corrupt governmental officials. Every tip is reviewed by an expert team of legal and security experts, who then determine whether further investigation is necessary.
WildLeaks was launched on February 7, and has received about 45 tips since then, 28 considered useful to the war on poaching.
According to The Guardian, tips sent in to WildLeaks include information regarding elephant poaching in Africa, illicit ivory trading in Hong Kong, illegal logging and the importing of illegal African wildlife products to the United States.
WildLeaks Founder Andrea Costa, a former security consultant, explained Wildleaks can only be successful if the public knows and trusts the platform, AFP reported.
WildLeaks has not received any tips from Tanzania, where wildlife crime is a major issue. A third of illegal ivory seized in Asia is traced back to Tanzania.
The WildLeaks site has 16 different language versions and a smartphone app is also being considered.
The slaughter of elephants, rhinos, tigers and other species has spiked over the past 10 years, contributing to an illicit wildlife trade of $10-20bn a year according to Interpol.