killing butterflies

Mark Walker MWalker at
Mon Sep 28 13:11:35 EDT 1998

Just a few comments following Chris Raper's recent post:

Chris wrote:

> There are certainly less 'stamp-type collectors'. The entomologists I
> know in my area all contribute to recording schemes and many run local
> groups that orgaise field trips to local sites of interest -
> specifically to record what is there. There are quite a lot of
> wildlife/countryside related NGOs and a lot of these own and protect
> sites.
	IMO, every individual that goes into the field to explicitly
observe/study/investigate the natural world is obligated to keep records
(however simple) of what is observed.  It is this behavior that gives
watching and collecting a scientific value, regardless of an individual's
credentials or even underlying motivation.  I would like to think that most,
if not all, of the collectors here (amatuer and otherwise) in the U.S. would
agree with me and in fact engage in such recording practices.  Those that
don't should be encouraged to start.   

> I think the sadest thing about the whole anti-collecting movement is
> that, more and more now, I am getting stoped in the countryside and
> asked why I am carrying a net. Very often these enqueries are just
> from interested walkers but there is a growing number of people who
> feel that I am a major threat to wildlife and that they have a duty to
> police what I do in the countryside. 
	This is exactly what has driven me to debate this issue so
vociferously.  It really happens, and is most frustrating when you know how
misguided these self-appointed environmental police can be.
> I would like to see more butterfly enthusiasts/recorders carrying nets
> and showing 'Joe Public' that a net is an essential tool. Too often I
> have seen people recording species for local projects without the aid
> of a net and getting the ID wrong. This totally invalidates their
> reords and gives a false impression to the recording scheme.
	I really do believe that there is a common solution that is
satisfactory for all, and _properly_ educating the public is the key.  If we
could figure out what it is that we're telling the public that tends to
generate this animosity towards net-carriers, we could then begin to educate
the educators not to use such propoganda (because it really is detrimental).
All of those who have established an intimacy with the insect world are in
favor of securing it for future generations.  There must be, therefore, a
single unified stance acceptable to all that seeks to accomplish this goal.
	Mark Walker (back in Massachusetts) 

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