Voucher specimens

Chris Raper triocomp at dial.pipex.com
Thu Sep 25 10:02:18 EDT 1997

On Mon, 22 Sep 1997 16:32:20 -0800 (AKDT), Kenelm Philip
<fnkwp at aurora.alaska.edu> wrote:

>Chris Raper responded to Torry's question:

>>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.

Good point. But, although it may be awkward if your type specimens are
located half way around the world, most South American countries (for
instance) just don't have the resources to devote to studying the
flora & fauna anyway. The bottom line should be that if someone has
the time and will to do the research (whether that be in the country
of origin or at the BMNH) it should be done.

>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!

I agree that would be rather patronising. I would support a system
where certain (perhaps large) groups could be permit-only. That way
the country's own entomologists would be able to work on the group but
for areas where there was no local study they should open it up for
foriegners to collect and research. That would also encourage people
to collect and study the more unusual groups of insects and leave the
well studied stuff alone.

Blanket bans are easy to administer but don't help science or
conservation in the long-term.

Chris R.

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