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Should the location of newly discovered species remain hidden?


A sad, but true, reality that pervades all hobbies involving organisms:


I decided not to post this in the reptile section so that more people would be willing to read it.
Good idea for a debate.

Very depressing fact that newly discovered species are almost always pounced on by poachers just after discovery.

Perhaps live specimens could be taken by the discoverer and bred then given away to breeders. This may reduce wild collection pressures. It is done with plants, so why not with reptiles and amphibians?
Ugh! Poachers and smugglers ought to be shot on sight but really if people just wouldn't buy these things there wouldn't be poachers or smugglers in the first place.
I think that would only be beneficial if it were coupled with a few years of breeding before any mention of the species was made public.
No matter how much breeding of this species there will always be people collecting them from the wild for the pet trade/food market.
No matter how much breeding of this species there will always be people collecting them from the wild for the pet trade/food market.

Does this mean you're in favor of the location data being withheld?
I think the locations should remain hidden unless the species is in and around an immediate danger and needs protection in which case publicity of some kind might be best.
Absolutely, but it will never be kept quiet. Which I guess is the whole point of the article.

I live in an area where salamanders are plentiful. Certain ponds/areas yield certain species. Over the years more and more "professionals" have been told about these ponds, which your average park visitor isn't going to just stumble over. You can now find them for sale on online classified ads as wild collected animals. Last week I went to these areas to get some photographs, each and every rock/log was thrown about or destroyed. Not a single animal was found but the same day 2 of the species I used to find there were now for sale on an online classified ad as wild collected from a "business" known for collecting animals from my area.

So no matter how secret someone tries to keep a location, there will always be those who know about the location and used to do this type of work for the benefit of the species, but now just see the dollar signs involved.
Having been an employee of the US govt. I have often been the keeper of location secrets for plant populations. This information is routinely withheld and given out on a need to know only basis and I support this. Why make it easy for people to do damage and break the law? Having said that I also understand the need for location data in describing new species and varieties and here things get tricky.
  • #10
I feel the specific location data should not be given and that a broad location data would be alittle better for public view. say a new cp species was discovered in australia... southeastern part. That's all that should be said... it'd be like finding a needle in a haystack.... if for preservation reasons then it should be given but that section of forest or swap or whatever should be protected in its entirety and not just key pin point locations
  • #11
Well, no.

As soon as you even tell the continent, that species is doomed.
  • #12
In every museum I've worked in, publicly-available locality data was kept to the county-level for this very reason.
  • #13
As it should.. I mean if you've been months years or even decades trying to locate something then y would you want to disclose the information of its were abouts are... you wouldn't want to cause someone else may not have the same compassion toward that species as you do.
  • #14
"If you build it, they will come"

In the modern days of google maps ect. Even county level info may be too much. It can't be that hard to find suitable habitat for a plant with satellite images. Alas, perhaps the only way to prevent poaching may be to make the buyers care enough to not to buy poached animals.
  • #15
County level distribution should be the most specific the released data gets.
  • #16
I'm completely for withholding the data. Generally those who have any interest in where a species is from will respect that the species should be protected, your average person won't gain anything from knowing that their species of X comes from Y location.
  • #17
Many of the Nep locations in Stewart's books are kept hidden due to possible poaching. There's a thread on the Nep forum that postulates that even habit pics should be excluded as poachers use clues from those to locate plants.

From a risk/reward viewpoint, I haven't seen any arguments that support the dissemination of location info.
Having said that I also understand the need for location data in describing new species and varieties and here things get tricky.
How so? Why does the general population need to know?

Truthfully, I don't know where the line should be - in who is able to get location info vs who isn't ...
- specific researchers?
- local/regional/country governments where the creature/plant has been found?
- preservation organizations?

Some will argue that the information gets out no matter what is officially shared...

Knowing the risks, I'd opt for keeping the info undisclosed and access highly restricted.