September 27, 2020
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Wildleaks looks for poaching and forest crimes

By Frank Saverino
Columnist

Marine biologists studying baleen whales in the Gulf of Lawrence just north of Nova Scotia have found that female humpback whales tend to form long-lasting friendships, according to Grist.org. Using photographic evidence taken underwater, the biologists have observed pairs of whales reconvening every summer for feeding after parting for months to migrate and mate across the ocean. This suggests serious emotional and social capabilities for these giants, weighing on average up to 79,000 pounds. A single friendship between two whales has been recorded to last as long as six years. But their inclination to socialize in feeding groups closer to the shore makes them more vulnerable and easily targeted by poachers.

A group of fourth and fifth graders from Brookline, Massachusetts have led the charge against the amount of Styrofoam used by a big company that all of New Jersey knows too well: Dunkin’ Donuts, says their petition on change.org. According to their study, Styrofoam is one of the most damaging carbon-based products to the environment that we use every day, from restaurant leftovers to our cup of hot chocolate or coffee. The chemicals, especially hydrofluorocarbons, used to process and make Styrofoam can trap more than a 1,000 times more heat than CO2. Styrofoam makes up 25 percent of our landfill space and is a huge factor contributing to The Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean, due to the fact that it takes 500 years to decompose. The large patch itself is also harmful to sea creatures that often eat it accidently. The petition from Brookline’s students, which challenges Dunkin’ Donuts to stop their production of Styrofoam by Earth Day 2015, has gone national, and Brookline has joined other cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. that set a ban on the production of Styrofoam.

Remember Wikileaks? Well now there is Wildleaks, a secure website dedicated to whistleblowing illegal poaching, wildlife trade and forest crimes. It is a non-profit venture created by a group of experienced wildlife professionals dedicated “to facilitate the identification, arrest and prosecution of criminals, traffickers, businessmen and corrupt governmental officials behind the poaching of endangered species and the trafficking of wildlife and forest products.” The website maintains security for whistleblowers by keeping their identity anonymous and encrypting sensitive material submitted online.

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