On World Wildlife Day, a reminder that whistleblowers can help protect turtles, dolphins and other marine species

The United Nations has named March 3, Sunday, as World Wildlife Day.This year’s theme is “Life below water,” and events took pace Friday at the United Nations in New York and around the globe.

They include shoreline trash collection in British Columbia, a photo contest on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda and a youth art competition. Siem Reap, Cambodia will host a “day of exciting wildlife awareness activities and game for kids.” With the aquatic theme, the event’s film festival offers movies on whales, overfishing, penguins and pollution. Find trailers for many on the event’s video channel.

National Whistleblower Center and the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) offered a webinar Tuesday on using whistleblowers address wildlife crimes like poaching, overfishing, habitat destruction and trafficking. The center’s Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program partners with conservation and anti-trafficking groups to expand and strengthen wildlife whistleblower programs. They see whistleblower rewards as a powerful but underused tool that could bolster the enforcement of wildlife protection laws.

At the webinar, NWC director Stephen M. Kohn said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(of the Department of Interior) already has whistleblower laws on the books.  A 2018 report from the Government Accountabilty Office found the laws had been underutilized. Kohn said they only work if those with information about crime are able to access and use whistleblower programs.

The Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act, a bill reintroduced in January, would give more muscle to existing programs. The bill also would require that penalties and fines from prosecutions be redistributed to wildlife conservation efforts.

From the webinar:

Kohn: “Make it more profitable to turn in the violator than to participate” – that’s how you stop #wildlifetrafficking. https://t.co/OU81S8FF37

— National Whistleblower Center (@StopFraud) February 26, 2019

Kohn: #whistleblowers are essential to effective enforcement of environmental laws, allowing protection of witnesses and detection of corrupt activities, including bribes paid to politicians by traffickers.

— National Whistleblower Center (@StopFraud) February 26, 2019

On Friday, the winners of the film festival were announced. Find a list here and hypnotic trailer for some of the entries below.

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