Obscuring Observations of Species at Risk of Poaching

#1

There has been a lot of recent attention in the media (see articles below) surrounding the poaching of various species of California’s coastal succulents. One of the many INaturalist features I appreciate is the automatic ‘obscure’ function for species of special concern. In species that are not listed, however, the user must opt to obscure the observation themselves. Many Dudleya and other succulent species are not of special status, and are therefore not automatically obscured. My fear is that users may inadvertently be contributing to highlighting areas of high density for poachers as an unfortunate and unforeseen side effect of this site.

Might we consider adding some way of protecting species that are under threat that are not of special status listing?

https://www.npr.org/2018/05/20/611570479/the-case-of-the-stolen-succulents

https://www.newyorker.com/news/california-chronicles/succulent-smugglers-descend-on-california

https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/9327697-181/plant-smugglers-take-massive-toll

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/04/20/busting-plant-smugglers-along-californias-coast/

https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/long-reads/article/2163157/californias-succulent-smugglers-plant-poachers

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#2

here’s a related thread: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/worrisome-trend-of-dudleya-farinosa-poaching-in-california/663

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#3

Ah, thanks for directing me to this. I’m still new to this aspect of INaturalist and haven’t explored archived conversations.

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#4

Curators can and do already obscure individual species manually. If you see a species that seems like iNat data spurs poaching, you could flag the taxon for curation.

Where to flag:

More info here:
https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/curator+guide#geoprivacy

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#5

Thanks, I was not aware of this function…

Is curation possible only on a case by case basis, or as a whole for a species or genus?

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#6

Setting a conservation status above the species level is possible but we advise against it aside from special cases, like Rhinos (which was the intended use when genus-level obscuration was requested).

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