museum 'poachers'

James Kruse fnjjk1 at
Tue Apr 9 20:21:22 EDT 2002

on 4/9/02 11:24 AM, Martin Bailey at cmbb at wrote:

> If your local museum does not have a specimen of that rare or unusual bird
> or bug that you sighted, they will make it a point of going out and
> "collecting" it.  I never give detailed directions over these computer lists
> on how to get to anything.  There is poaching with a gun for trophies and
> there is poaching for trophies backed by vague scientific reasonings.
> Martin Bailey

Talk about conspiracy theories and black helicopters...

It is "funny" how many people believe that if a museum hears of your rare
sighting, they dispatch the 'killing team' to take care of business. When
birds from the Palaearctic stray to Alaska, many birders flock up to see
them. The museum always gets calls from these folks asking if the bird is
"still there or did the museum collect it yet?"! As far as I know, the
museum ornithologists are not sneaking over to people's houses and shooting
birds off their feeders. On the other hand, serious "life-list birders"
clearly are not so inhibited, since every time one of these rare birds show
up in town, hundreds of people fly up from all over the U.S. and Canada and
invade private property to get a look/picture for their life lists. Yes, the
first couple of them ask permission, but then the rest show up and hang out
for days or weeks.

Speaking for myself, I am not trolling the net for lepidopteran species on
my "list" and then traveling across the country and trampling anyone's
butterfly garden to collect (or get a photo). I think a more valid concern
is that every time you post to a list-serve, someone collects your email to
send you spam later.

We have lynx here. I have seen them. Oh-oh... what have I done?

(fade in background caterwauling of lynx, and then the distant thunder of
black helicopters with guns bristling.... and as they get closer, the logo
of the local museum can be seen...)


James J. Kruse, Ph.D.
Curator of Entomology
University of Alaska Museum
907 Yukon Drive
Fairbanks, AK, USA 99775-6960
tel 907.474.5579
fax 907.474.1987


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