This is kind of a heated topic here in the carnivorous plant enthusiast world. We all have our own opinions and beliefs, and I'd be interested to start a reasonable discussion about this.
Must of us that grow Nepenthes might be familiar with trolling eBay for good prices on some of our favorite rare plants.
In conjunction with cuttings, basals or other seed-grown plants that other enthusiasts have grown, there are a number of listings for Nepenthes seeds. There are the obvious and incessant listings that are always there, sort of fantastical prices on fantastic species that have very low if any germination rate. But lately there has been a pretty consistent string of seemingly legitimate listings from a certain someone who lives in Southeast Asia and claims to have freshly obtained seeds of a variety of rare and intriguing species.
This is where the heart of the debate rises.
I personally think that taking these ripe and fertile seed pods of the species or hybrids that we love from their natural environment is (in this situation) totally wrong.
By selling these seeds on eBay for relatively low prices, to anyone who might "buy it now", there is no guarantee that the seeds will fall into "the right hands" - AKA, someone who actually knows how to get the highest germination rate out of the seeds that is possible. More importantly, however, is that aside from the uncertain future the seeds face once listed on eBay, they have been taking from their natural environment, the one place that, all human activity aside, is one of the only places that can ultimately sustain the species existence without the use of electricity, the requirement of greenhouses, or any other sophisticated and technologically based growing tools we would need to grow these plants to maturity.
The argument for the selling of the seeds is that we should scoop up these seeds as soon as possible and start growing them because we cannot trust that their natural environment not be destroyed by our activities.*
* I say we as in Homo sapiens, the species we all are a part of, whether poor Sumatran land-owners who need food, or middle-class United State plant enthusiasts.
I'll wrap things up with a few of my own personal beliefs regarding this subject:
1.) Any seeds taken from these plant's natural environments should be given only to professional Nepenthes growers who have proven their ability to germinate the seeds to their fullest potential. (This does not involve eBay listings)
2.) As much energy that any of us put into buying seeds that have been taken from their environment we should also be putting towards preserving that environment. (This does not involve eBay listings)
3.) We should not as a species just be "giving up" on these most diverse and fertile regions of the world because "we'll probably just end up destroying them anyway." This line of thought makes me cringe, and makes me totally shamed to be a member of the same species that could think this thought.
I do not want to start arguments, but I would like to hear some thoughtful discussion on this subject, so please give your two cents on this topic - it's of great interest to many of us here, perhaps all of us who frequent this sub-forum and I'd be interested to hear how my fellow enthusiasts think about this.