Contacting a non-responsive/new iNaturalist poster that may be keeping a wild animal?

First, I’m sorry if this post isn’t in the correct forum. I’m somewhat troubled by an observation I saw a few days ago (not linking here, but in it, someone was holding a bird in their bare hand while they were sitting behind the wheel of a car; their post asked “what kind of bird” it was and said that they’d “take care of” it “from now on”).

I’m not sure what they meant, but the wording was a bit worrisome, since I’ve run into other people keeping protected species recently, both knowingly and unknowingly. And if the person doesn’t know what a mourning dove is, or that it shouldn’t be held in a bare human hand, they may not know that keeping it for days/weeks on end is harming it.

In a comment, I suggested that the person needed to get the bird to a licensed rehabber, and offered to help them find one, but there’s been no response. I doubt they mean to do harm; they probably just don’t realize and likely haven’t checked back on iNaturalist (it was their first and only post). But is there any way to alert iNaturalist staff if a poster really needs to be contacted about an issue, specifically where they are potentially unknowingly hurting wildlife? Thank you.


It sounds like you’ve made a reasonable effort to reach out and inform them – maybe even if they don’t respond they’ve learned from your comments, as has anyone who views the observation. I always have to remind myself, on the internet, you can’t convince everyone and fix everything: you speak your peace in good faith, and move on.


You may want to contact them using the ‘Message’ function. Perhaps they don’t want to discuss it publicly, and don’t know how to use that function. That red envelope is hard to ignore. Just another way to reach them. If you want to contact the iNat admins, there is a ‘Help’ contact link at the bottom of most pages. I’m sure one of them will chime in here - they are good at following these posts. Good luck.


Oh man. You did the right thing and you did your best (agree wholeheartedly with @schizoform).

I have a hard time coping with stuff like this I see online. People pulling plants or digging up orchids and ramps and putting it on here or other sites to be identified. Even though I know it’s small-scale and not even close to the large-scale collective environmental destruction that happens every second. Unfortunately not everyone sees the natural world and the species within it the same way as us “iNaturalist”s.


Thanks very much, all! The suggestions you each have sent are useful (and it’s especially useful to know about the ‘Help’ link). I did try the Message button, since iirc direct messages often seem to trigger an email where Comments might not, but no luck. At this point, mostly just trying to figure out what to do next time.


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