Suspicious email/possible poacher


I received the attached suspicious request in my iNaturalist email. It seemed odd, and when I looked at the individual’s profile they have uploaded zero observations or ID’s. I suspect an attempt to poach and have not responded to it.

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wise decision, would have done the same especially if its about protected or endangered species…


Backing up a request for exact coordinates with the phrase, ‘leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos.’ just makes it obvious.

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I agree. You could ask for proof of their photography. Flickr?


If the species concerned are sensitive then I would not respond with coordinates, but I also wouldn’t assume this person is a poacher. As we’ve written in our Community Guidelines, “assume people mean well.” To me, this request seems perfectly legitimate, and if we’re going to assume that lack of observations / identifications means someone is a poacher, then I’m afraid many of my friends and family are poachers too! And I guess I was poacher my entire life until 2008.

If it were me, I’d simply send a polite response saying that I don’t disclose locations of sensitive species to people I don’t know, but I wish her good luck on her visit.


I assume the best in people, but this email is at the very least suspicious…


That does seem quite suspicious, would not respond


this doesn’t sound good! I highly recommend you to change the geoprivacy of these observation to obscure or private, just in case! I googled its avatar and no info appeared, this is clearly a fake profile. Can we flag these profiles. is ok to do it?


Normal well-meaning but cautious people can have single per-site avatars and usernames, similar to what is suggested for one’s site passwords, so googleability is not a good index of authenticity.

Edit: FWIW as an experiment I just googled my own avatar that I’ve used variously (in perhaps non-googleable contexts) for decades on the internet and nothing related to me came up.