Collecting Permit Ideas

mark jackson strat7 at
Thu Jul 16 20:37:07 EDT 1998

Hi,         This is the worst idea i have read in 30 years.    peace yourself
mark j

Doug Yanega wrote:

> Jim Hanlon wrote:
> >I am extremely disappointed at the difficult and complex process of obtaining
> >a permit to collect butterflies in Brazil. I have invested so much time in
> >learning about the country's flora and fauna, studying the language,
> >geography, etc., only to find out that it is nearly impossible for an amateur
> >collector to obtain a permit. Note: I only use Brazil as an example here
> >because Brazil is my Country of choice, so keep in mind that the following
> >concept can be applied almost anywhere.
> Okay, I'll use Brazil as an example, and bear in mind (1) the following
> concept can be applied almost anywhere (2) that this is just off the top of
> my head (3) it's a long response, but it has a punchline (4) in principle,
> I *agree* with you! But...
> A country-wide permit process requires an administrative structure, an
> enforcement protocol, and manpower and materiel to follow that protocol.
> This means that you are asking that the government of Brazil expend money
> on, among other things, employing a number of people (since it requires
> employees whose ONLY job is to deal with these permits) on a year-round
> basis, to deal with...what, a few hundred amateur lepidopterists who would
> be willing to pay for a trip to the Amazon any given year (after all, there
> may be a few thousand people who want to go, but would not do so every
> single year, or multiple times a year - for some it might be once in a
> lifetime). Unless the permits are expensive, this will not be
> cost-effective for the government, because those tourism dollars spent by
> the visitors are not going back into the government's pocket - only the
> permit payment does. The bulk of the money will be going to airlines and
> tourist agencies (many of which are not Brazilian-run), and $100 here and
> there is a drop in the bucket when you've got clerks and administrators who
> require paychecks on a regular basis. Or would you approve if the permit
> itself was cheap, allowed unlimited catch, but when you left Brazil, you
> were assessed a fee - which you HAD to pay - of, say, half the open market
> value of the insects you had collected? (Hmmm...thirteen Agrias and twenty
> Prepona, plus 522 have a lot of cash, I hope, amigo?).
> If the permits are expensive, the demand for them will go down, and it
> becomes even LESS cost-effective to have them in the first place.
>         Note that you can't simply have a booth in the airport that sells
> permits as you fly in, and checks your catch when you leave. That would
> leave the system too open to abuse, since you could collect anything,
> anywhere, even Red-listed species in National Parks, and just lie to the
> guy in the booth. Further, if it's not legal to collect anywhere in Brazil,
> then they can just catch you at customs - but if general permits exist,
> then all it takes is a little sly mislabeling for you to collect anywhere
> and get away with it - and that doesn't help either science OR Brazil's
> parks. But I digress...if you want the person in the booth to be able to
> spot when you're lying, then they'll need to have serious training in
> entomology, and that won't come cheap, especially since you'd need at least
> two such people in every international airport in the country. Brazil also
> doesn't have its own Endangered Species list, so there are dozens of
> species that would technically be legal to collect even though they might
> be gravely imperiled at the moment. As an aside, you may not be aware, but
> in February, Brazil implemented new, STRICTER laws regarding wildlife and
> such and - for example - if one destroys an animal nest, such as a poacher
> rifling a macaw nest, that means a minimum of six months in jail, plus
> steep fines.
>         In the end, economically, it's tough to make this pay when the
> market is so small (I think you overestimate how many tourism dollars
> butterfly collecting would generate for Brazil - a few riverside "jungle
> lodges" and river tours don't amount to much), and ecologically, it's
> simpler to just not allow collecting. It might be different if Brazil was
> actually reimbursed for the market value of insects collected - that is,
> after all, only fair (you wouldn't just let people take produce from your
> garden and sell it on the street outside your house). It also might be
> different if there was already a special structure in place to deal with
> this sort of permitting, but the present labyrinthine and restrictive
> process is what they've got. They're set up to deal with commercial
> interests, and wildlife and plant poaching, and the tiny handful of
> amateurs asking for insect collecting permits are probably not worth
> creating a new policy and structure to accommodate. Ideally it would be
> different, I'll admit.
>         What would *I* suggest? That Brazilians go into the business of
> farming and selling their own natural resources, instead of trying to
> negotiate fair ways to let outsiders come in and take what they want. When
> you arrive at your jungle lodge, then, the butterflies are already caught,
> mounted, labelled, and for sale (at a fraction of the international market
> price), and all you can do outdoors is take pictures of them, and go on the
> guided tours of the little shop where the lodge employees take the
> butterflies THEY catch, to mount and label them for sale. When you leave,
> you have a bill of sale for every specimen you take with you. That is also
> a win-win scenario, involves no permitting process at all, AND reduces the
> incentive for poaching. Any serious objections?
> Peace,
> 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: 031-449-2579, fax: 031-441-5481  (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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