Do the world a favor: Dob in an eco-sinner today

Want to do the world a favor?  The next time you see somebody harming wildlife or the environment, turn 'em in.

Dying for their skins...

Dying for their skins...

In late February we wrote about a new website called WildLeaks -- established especially for anonymously dobbing in environmental sinners.  Guess what?  It's working.

In just its first three months, WildLeaks has resulted in tip-offs for 24 major wildlife crimes, including leads on elephant and tiger poaching, and illegal fishing and forest destruction. 

The crimes that WildLeaks has recently unearthed include:

• elephant poaching in Africa and illegal ivory trading in Hong Kong

• the killing of perilously rare Sumatran tigers

• trafficking of live chimpanzees in Liberia

• illegal fishing in Alaska, with alleged links to the Mafia

• Illegal imports of African wildlife products into the US

• illegal logging in Mexico, Malawi, and Siberia

The designer of WildLeaks, Andrea Crosta, is a pro at this stuff.  An expert on elephant conservation, his past exploits include revealing how Somalian terrorists used ivory smuggling to fund their activities. 

WildLeaks takes the security of its informants seriously.  Every tip that WildLeaks receives is examined by a team of legal and security experts, who then liaise confidentially with relevant law-enforcement authorities.

Thanks to WildLeaks, those who profit handsomely from eco-crimes -- which total hundreds of billions of dollars annually --- will be spending a little more time glancing nervously over their own shoulders. 


Carnage for forest elephants

In 2001 genetic analyses confirmed what researchers in Africa had long suspected: the forest elephant is a unique species, distinct from its larger cousin, the African savanna elephant. 

That knowledge makes the current devastation of forest elephants--which live in the shrinking rainforests of Central and West Africa--all the more alarming.  In just the last decade, two-thirds of all forest elephants have been wiped out.  These animals are victims of growing human populations, the rapid proliferation of roads in African forests, and especially the burgeoning global trade in illegal ivory.

Nowhere left to hide... forest elephant in Gabon (photo by Carlton Ward).

Nowhere left to hide... forest elephant in Gabon (photo by Carlton Ward).

The only encouraging aspect of this story is growing awareness of the problem.  China is finally acknowledging and beginning to address its huge role as a consumer of illegal ivory (see our blog below) and other governments are also taking action.  For instance, the Obama administration just announced a series of anti-wildlife-crime measures, including a crackdown on illegal ivory.

For the beleaguered forest elephant, such actions are not coming a moment too soon...