law news and legalese

Doug Yanega dyanega at
Wed Aug 27 15:55:11 EDT 1997

Mark Walker wrote:

>My bet is that Mr.
>Teobaldelli loves nature, and is within the top 2% of the world population in
>terms of nature-friendliness.

First off, do you know that for a fact? How on earth are we, on this list,
supposed to know - for example - whether he is an amateur lepidopterist, or
someone who runs an insect/arachnid clearing house in Italy, and makes his
living selling wild-caught material? Neither you nor I *know* what his
motivations were, and I'm not so sure I can see how one can even start to
try to take these things into account. If someone throws litter where the
sign says "100$ fine for littering", do you ask them why or do you just
assess the fine? If Mr. T had climbed some fences marked with NO
TRESPASSING signs to get onto someone's private property while collecting,
and then been arrested for trespassing, would that also be ill-mannered of
us? I'm not so sure this kind of thing should be interpreted as a sign of
our rude treatment of foreign visitors on holiday.

>Are the Mr. Teobaldelli's of the world really the problem?

Wouldn't you agree that this might depend in part on what he intended to do
with the material he caught, or whether he was targeting the rarest
species, for example? What if he had been digging up wildflowers instead?
Would it be a problem if he had visited the Petrified Forest and taken some
petrified wood? If he had taken dinosaur bones or arrowheads or pottery
shards or crinoid fossils or redwood cones or some other things from some
other parks? Would it make any difference for any of these things as to
whether he intended to profit from it or not? If so, why? It's not an easy
thing to draw a tidy line as to what organisms/artifacts are perfectly all
right to take and which are not, is it? (as was raised elsewhere in this
thread). Allow enough even perfectly innocent folks access, and there will
always be some sort of problem (even renewable resources have their
limits), and drawing lines is a tough prospect.
        The big problem is that we should have so little of the natural
world left that we have to struggle to keep it from getting damaged or
wiped out from simply having people visit it to enjoy it. That things have
gotten so bad that we have to WORRY about folks like Mr. T because they
MIGHT be a threat, even unintentionally. I'm also sure there's someone
somewhere who would love to buy up all that park land Mr. T visited and
then sell it piecemeal, too, and is trying to find a way to do just that -
THAT is a much bigger problem, no question. THAT is what scares me, really.


Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 031-448-1223, fax: 031-44-5481  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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