Commercial collector selling rare butterfly specimens on eBay

This is a link to collector’s site:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/iau111/m.html?item=254498596187&hash=item3b414c655b%3Ag%3Avf8AAOSw~WpeM50l&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2562

Cannot comment unless you are registered on eBay which I am not. They are selling specimens of conservation concern butterflies from what appear to be public lands in Maryland and other states. Our Dept of Natural Resources is looking into it.

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Looks like this might be a good resource to contact! https://dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide/Pages/Crimestoppers.aspx

I just called to tip them off but I don’t have knowledge of the local butterflies in that region to may not be too helpful. I was told that there is nothing illegal about what this person is doing because there is only one protected species in the state, the baltimore checkerspot.

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I saw the discussion about this on MDLepsOdes. It’s really sad and discouraging. Hopefully something can be done to stop this. Thanks for raising awareness.

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Unfortunately, both ebay and facebook are common places for this sort of activity.

I work in SE Asia in environmental conservation and have one of my staff monitoring facebook activity in the country, even though that’s a bit out of our normal work. The amount of exotic animals from around the world we see for sale is both astounding and depressing.

Unfortunately, neither platform is especially proactive about shutting down that sort of activity, although ebay is a bit better than facebook when it comes to that.

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Quite frankly, this is extremely common. And… law enforcement usually doesn’t do anything because these species are not ‘protected’ and it is not known where they came from (i.e. from a State Park would be a crime). I have been watching this happen to herps for a very long time - reporting to officials when possible, but usually nothing happens there - butterflies are a large hobby so this is very understandable.

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You might find this article of mine, on how these collectors operate, interesting: https://e360.yale.edu/features/unnatural-surveillance-how-online-data-is-putting-species-at-risk

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Laying the blame on open data is arguable at best: see also Publish and don’t perish – how to keep rare species’ data away from poachers (which adapts and amplifies this article in Science).

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