Reporting wildlife trade on iNaturalist: captive/wild

Apologies, I haven’t find time earlier to reply. Thank you for the replies.
@ruthapp I definitely agree with you and @cthawley your feedback is very interesting. Indeed I think differentiating specimens seen as completely wild/free roaming (with date/location important for GBIF) from wild specimens seen elsewhere because humans have brought them there (as @cthawley mentions) is critically important.

However it’s also critically important all the rest doesn’t end up in a ‘Waste Bin’ (to quote this post) with that dull grey ‘Casual Grade’ that also labels it as “No ID needed”. All sort of data of various usefulness and quality is just lumped together in there.

The dichotomy captive/wild as it is used today doesn’t seem work for many real life situations, because in these situations it is either not mutually exclusive or just insufficient. I have read several posts on the forums and it seems people - including and perhaps especially scientists - have been bothered by this issue for several years (5-6 years+ at least), leading to long discussions on the forum, so I guess my post is just adding to that. Like many, I think it’s perhaps time for a change to the basic wild/captivated and research/casual grade.

iNaturalist was surely not built with all these special cases in mind, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t evolve. All OS/crowdsourcing projects evolve over time, and if iNaturalist is the first app people (increasingly large numbers of non-scientists) will reach out to when they interact with something that they consider ‘nature’ (which seem to be just about anything alive and non-human), then it just make sense to find a solution that encompass all usages.

Also there are other databases (to reply to @jasonhernandez74) - for instance for the wildlife trade - but many of these are private and/or not linked to apps people commonly use. So in terms of actually gathering citizen science data, it’s as if they don’t exist, while iNat does a great job with this (not a surprise WWF set up the ‘wildlife in trade’ projects). There is also a question of accessibility: following a recommendation, I tried to report raptors seen in the wildlife trade on the GRIN app for instance, but I found that rather difficult and gave up (in spite of using eBird occasionally), whereas iNaturalist is built with ease of access in mind.

Finding a solution would also prevent the wrong obs to go into the GBIF (would help also for invasives, escapees, etc.). As I mentioned earlier, about half of obs in the ‘wildlife in trade’ project are marked as wild already.

Good discussions on the topics:
and this feature request

I’ll share a similar feeling I’ve seen elsewhere on the forum, as someone who is spending time logging properly useful obs of captive wild animals in trade, seeing those going to the ‘no ID required’ / ‘casual grade’ waste bin is slightly depressing :)

Anyway, thanks for reading :blush: