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Monetary Rewards for Wildlife Whistleblowers: A Game-Changer in Wildlife Trafficking Detection and Deterrence

January 2016

Citation: ELR 10054

Author: Stephen M. Kohn

Despite the enactment of scores of wildlife protection laws, illegal activities are difficult to detect under current enforcement policies. Both the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act include language providing monetary incentives to persons who disclose information about wildlife crimes, but these provisions have not been effectively implemented. Given the years of delay in implementing them, Congress should step in once again to ensure that its original intent is effectuated, either through oversight of the responsible federal agencies or legislation. Drawing on lessons learned from the financial sector, implementation of the wildlife whistleblower reward laws should both encourage whistleblowers to come forward and fully explain how potential whistleblowers can obtain compensation and confidentiality protections.

Stephen Kohn is a Partner at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP, and a founder of the National Whistleblower Center.

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