Another topic got me thinking about the individuality of organisms and I was thinking about all the different birds and mammals that I “knew” like the sapsucker family I saw a bunch over the summer, or the squirrel that always slept on this one sign near my family’s cabin. But then I started thinking about the organisms that multiple people “know”, like all the rare birds who have been observed on inaturalist by many different people, or this one patch of flowers near my cabin that, different people just passing by have both added to inat. Think about all the squirrels birds and plants in places like Central Park and how many times they’ve been photographed? And speaking about Central Park what about really famous organisms like Flaco? How many times has trees like General Sherman been observed on iNat? In Calgary for a couple years there was this Red-breasted nuthatch who I think was partially leucistic, and was really friendly and people named him Bob. Do you know any other examples of this? Maybe organisms that you know but especially organisms that multiple people have observed on iNaturalist, or animals that are “well known” in your area?
The most famous and the saddest example that immediately springs to mind is the case of a number of so-called “confident” Marsican brown bears in and around the Abruzzo National Park. Attracted by access to easy food, some of the bears have started frequenting local villages where they have become a major tourist attraction, attracting literally tens of thousands of visitors, many of whom will do just about anything to get a photo/video to post on social media, putting both themselves and the bears at risk. Obviously there is no shortage of unscrupulous people who deliberately exploit this phenomenon for their own benefit, encouraging the bears by illegally providing them with appetising food resources, to then capitalise on their presence, either by notoriety, or by directly exploiting the tourist presence. This has indirectly and tragically led to the death of at least three bears that come to my mind immediately, maybe more… and when you think that there are only some 40 or so Marsican brown bears alive today anywhere in the world, this is a great and irreparable loss for the species.
Now I’m thinking about what unwitting individual gray squirrel or mallard has been observed by the most people and has hundreds of inat posts just to themselves
There is a rather well known Bur Oak /Quercus macrocarpa in Akron called the Signal Tree; the legend goes that local indigenous tribes used the tree as a marker for the portage between the Cuyahoga river and the Tuscarawas river. https://metro-parks.medium.com/history-and-mystery-of-the-indian-signal-tree-fc6866d7b2d3
There’s a few observations on iNat, though I haven’t snagged one yet - the metropark it is located in is currently closed for some extended construction projects related to removal of the last large dam along the Cuyahoga. Here is the most recent observation though https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/131185149
The monkeys in Japan that visit hot springs are fairly famous
I never saw him, and I don’t think he has been seen for a few years, but for several years “Alfonso” was a semi famous Mandarin Duck on the Nelson Lakes.
One of the things I love about the UK is its cultural fixation with nature and animals. It doesn’t always manifest in ways that seem, at least to a rube from the colonies, environmentally informed or entirely humane. Take, for example, the case of Benson the carp, whose death generated significant outrage, including in news publications - especially among the fraternity whose affection for Benson was demonstrated by serially dragging him around on a hook.
Going through observations in the Dominican Republic, I lost count of how many waterlily observations had the location as the Botanic Gardens in Santo Domingo.
We had a relatively well-known Gorilla called Bokito.