Although it’s now clear that wildlife and forest trafficking has far reaching national and international security and economic implications, many governments tend to see the problem as just an environmental issue and the global fight against wildlife and forest crime is not giving the expected results.
New and innovative approaches are urgently needed and the global civil society can now play its part with WildLeaks.
WildLeaks is a nonprofit collaborative project created & funded by the Elephant Action League (EAL) and managed in collaboration with a group of very experienced individuals, which includes the directors of environmental investigation NGOs, environmental lawyers, accredited journalists, security professionals and ex-law enforcement officers.
The Mission of WildLeaks is to receive and evaluate anonymous information regarding wildlife and forest crimes and transform them into actionable items. The submission system is entirely based on the use of the Tor technology, which is integrated in the platform and allows the sources to stay anonymous and to submit sensitive information in a very secure way, always encrypted, in respect to data transmission and management.
The priorities of WildLeaks are to prevent wildlife crime and 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.
Wildlife crimes very often go undetected and unchallenged when people do not speak up about them, and whistleblowers can play a crucial role in fighting back, creating awareness and doing justice.
The first 3-month pilot phase of WildLeaks, launched in February 2014, offers us the opportunity to evaluate this tool, have a look at its first results, get precious feedbacks and suggestions, and show how it could support the efforts of the international community in fighting wildlife crime.
Andrea Crosta is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the California based Elephant Action League (EAL) and the Founder and Project Leader of WildLeaks.
Since 1989 he has been involved in a variety of conservation and research projects in Africa, Asia, South America and Europe supported by a private Italian foundation.
For over 15 years he has been working also as an international consultant to companies and governmental agencies on high-end security services, homeland security, investigations and risk management, a unique knowledge that he now applies to conservation and wildlife protection. As an entrepreneur, in 1998 he founded ‘Think Italy’, one of the very first e-commerce companies in Italy.
In 2010-2012 he was a part of the 2-man team that uncovered the link between the ivory trade and the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab.