Voucher specimens

Kenelm Philip fnkwp at aurora.alaska.edu
Mon Sep 22 20:32:20 EDT 1997

	Chris Raper responded to Torry's question:

>What's the point in stopping people collecting Brazilian butterflies and
>moths while at the same time destroying huge tracts of rain-forest for the
>sake of feeding an over-expanded population.

with the following:

>Well, it might be cynical of me to say it BUT without population
>monitoring the government of any country can destroy what it likes.

	In my opinion, that is indeed being cynical, since there is another
reason why some countries wish foreigners to obtain collecting permits:
to avoid having the type specimens of their flora and fauna end up in
museums out of the country. For example, Australia has had a ban on removing
insect specimens from the country for decades, just for the reason that
most of their types were comfortably residing at the BMNH.

	I am no enthusiast for collecting permits, having had to cope
with them myself on numerous occasions--but I can understand why a country
would prefer to have its own types residing in its own museums (as well
as having copies of any papers resulting from study of its flora and fauna).
This is a legitimate concern for any country--however inconvenient it may
be for foreigners.

	Some people have stated that certain countries lack the museum
facilities to provide proper care for types, and that the types are thus
safer in foreign museums. This may be true in some cases--but I can under-
stand the feelings of scientists in any given country if foreigners tell
them their types are being stored out of the country for their own good!
It would take rather enlightened politicians to support such policies...

							Ken Philip
fnkwp at aurora.alaska.edu

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