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WikiLeaks-style website reports illegal wildlife activity

It was Crosta and his team who discovered al-Shabaab was funding their operation with illegal ivory trading.
By Aileen Graef Follow @AileenGraef Contact the Author   |   June 13, 2014 at 4:59 PM

LOS ANGELES, June 13 (UPI) -- WildLeaks, a new WikiLeaks-style website created by Andrea Crosta of the Elephant Action League, allows whistleblowers to report tips on wildlife crime and has been catching some big fish.

"We had our first tip within 24 hours and the response has been beyond our wildest imagination," said Crosta, now executive director of the Elephant Action League. Crosta told the Guardian that people cannot report because they fear the corrupt law enforcement. "You can't, for example, export containers full of ivory from Mombasa without bribing people left, right and centre," Crosta told the Guardian. "We definitely feel we are filling a gap."

Their tips have included elephant poaching in Africa, hunting of Sumatran tigers, illegal lion and leopard hunting, and illegal logging.

The tips are collected and then analyzed by WildLeaks legal and security teams before they decide whether to pursue an investigation.

Crosta said investigations are usually slow because, "people have to trust you." The investigation into al-Shabaab took 18 months. They found the group was pushing tons of ivory through Somalia every month.

A 2011 report from the group Global Financial Integrity puts wildlife crime as the fifth largest illegal market with profits from $7.8 to $10 billion.

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