Collecting Debate

Mon Sep 8 12:33:20 EDT 1997

Bob Kriegel wrote:
> I also strongly disagree with Neil Jones statement that encouraging
> collecting encourages the wrong attitude to conservation.  Here in
> Michigan an anti-collecting attitude is clearly hampering conservation
> efforts for Lepidoptera. 
> Historically, most of our knowledge about non-pest Lepdioptera has
> come from avocational collectors.  This fact is still true today.  
> In the U.S. state and federal agencies simply do not have the staff,
> or in many cases the expertise, to conduct insect surveys themselves. 
> Hence, they must rely on entomologists to conduct distribution and
> life history work. 
> Bob Kriegel <kriegelr at>

It seems that a highly developed country as the U.S. has difficulties
with official butterfly surveys. Much the same picture in Venezuela,
where form some time to date official agencies has placed lots of 
obstacles to amateur collecting. Much of this people are the ones that
really knows our fauna and are aware or concious of conservation. I
myself began as an amateur collector, the difference today is that I'm
about to graduate in biology and will have a degree.

I have received blanks for collecting permits from other countries and
from what I've read on this list, much the same stupid requirements are
repeated elsewhere (like saying the names and number of species you
expect to collect, when in fact no-one ever knows what will collect).

Our nations (latin america) are still in need of knowing its fauna.
Lots of new species are still waiting to be described and much of the
known taxa are also waiting to be discovered within one nation's 
boundary. So, if our agencies behave stupidly, we just will never get
to know them correctly. Most of this behavior is due to a completely
ignorance of how to impose the rules. It is like they're copying the
pre-existing models in other nations (in this case the U.S.), and
as I see it, it doesn't work there neither. And while bureucratic 
procedure seems to never end, much of the forests are being cut down.

I believe that nations like yours should help with our faunistical
surveys, increasing our collections and aiding our specialists. However
there are many amateur collectors from Europe and N.A. that come to
the tropics, but leave no knowledge here. They just take all the
specimens, ones to decorate a room or be ammassed in unreacheble 

I agree that there should be policies for collecting insects, but
I think the the whole problem is that, in this world, we still don't
know what is conservation.

Andres Orellana
Merida, Venezuela

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