, DAR ES SALAAM, Aug 25 – Poachers slaughtering Africa’s elephants and rhinos with impunity are often shielded from police by powerful connections, but a group of conservationists has turned to the anonymity of tip-offs to try to stem the killing.
The founders of WildLeaks – a sort of WikiLeaks for the environment – say it is the first secure, online whistle-blowing platform dedicated to wildlife and forest crime.
While wildlife rangers face gun battles in national parks with poachers carrying out the slaughter, the online project hopes to target the top-end traffickers who cream off millions of dollars in profit.
“We got, for example, a very interesting leak on a very powerful individual in Kenya, linked to the government, who is behind the ivory trade,” said founder Andrea Crosta, a former security consultant and longtime conservationist.
This kind of person “will never be taken out from within. They’re too powerful. You need help from outside. So right now, we’re trying to gather more evidence,” he said in rapid-fire, Italian-accented English.