U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Continues to Underutilize Whistleblower Awards
Last week, Whistleblower Network News published an exclusive report on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) use of whistleblower awards. The article, which features quotes from NWC’s Chairman of the Board Stephen M. Kohn and Senior Wildlife and Climate Policy Advisor Scott Hajost, details how FWS continues to underutilize whistleblower awards.
Based on information obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, WNN reports that from late 2019 through 2022, FWS issued only twenty-one whistleblower awards and that a vast majority of these were for between $2,000 and $5,000.
“Fish and Wildlife continues to radically underutilize whistleblower awards,” says Kohn. “The program has tremendous potential and could revolutionize the enforcement of wildlife crime. Fish and Wildlife needs to follow the lead of the SEC and other agencies and implement a robust whistleblower award program.”
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the power of whistleblowers in exposing wildlife crimes. NWC has been particularly involved in advocating for the utilization of whistleblowers in the fight against wildlife crime.
“Extinctions are forever. Loss of habitat is often irreplaceable. FWS must implement the whistleblower program in accordance with the highly successful procedures used by other agencies,” Kohn says.√√Exclusive reporting by Whistleblower Network News details the failure of FWS to fully leverage whistleblower awards.