To the U.S. Secretaries,
The wildlife extinction crisis we face is pushing entire species to the brink of existence. Extinction is forever. Your office has a powerful and proven tool it can employ in the fight against wildlife trafficking: wildlife whistleblowers.
U.S. wildlife protection laws - such as the Lacey Act, Endangered Species Act, and Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act, among others - include provisions to protect and incentivize people to report wildlife crime. These powerful, underutilized provisions have been on the books for over 30 years.
I request that Secretaries of Interior, Commerce, Treasury, and Agriculture, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Department of Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under the Department of Commerce, who Congress entrusted to implement these laws, establish a program to work with global wildlife whistleblowers following the best practices of other successful U.S. whistleblower programs including:
- Informing the public about wildlife whistleblower rights;
- Creating a wildlife whistleblower office to facilitate reports from whistleblowers, while safeguarding confidentiality;
- Recognizing the full range of whistleblowers — including organizations like NGOs — under the laws.
Agency heads responsible for implementing existing whistlebower programs that combat fraud and securities and tax violations have reported effective whistleblower programs are a "tremendously effective force-multiplier, generating high quality tips, and in some cases virtual blueprints laying out an entire enterprise."
To combat the extinction crisis we must empower those on the ground--everyday heroes with vital information who can be the eyes and ears of enforcement.
[your comment here]
Every minute, we are losing vulnerable animals to the poaching crisis, and irreparable damage is being inflicted on ecosystems by illegal fishing and deforestation. We must protect wildlife whistleblowers and incentivize them to report wildlife crime.