Why do some of my endangered species observations continue to get obfuscated?

I have made observations regarding several endangered, at risk and of interest important species in my region - a region that is an extremely rare ecosystem under constant threat from development and mismanagement - and my postings of species in danger of extirpation are being “written over” by something within and on inaturalist that should not be doing that.

I do not understand why someone is obfuscating observations of monarchs and badgers when this is part of land management in my community and urgently needed. I need to communicate with people in my region who are working on conservation issues and I don’t understand who is obfuscating reasons that the land in my region CANNOT BE DEVELOPED.

It is happening almost instantly when I post. It just happened 20 seconds ago and I would like there to be a formal process before someone who doesn’t know the complexity of diversity in this region tries to “cover up” my summer’s worth of research results as I prepare to bring them to local and federal Canadian authorities’ attention in order to work to conserve species and ecosystems that are in danger of extinction in 3 countries.

buenos dias, bonjour, hello. When someone is undermining my summer’s ecological survey I think there should be an accountability process.

I don’t want to sound negative about inaturalist, it is a fantastic tool of empowerment and research.

if anyone can explain what is happening to my careful research and why the endangered animals and insects are being “hidden” by something altering my observations almost immediately upon posting please let me know who I can speak to about it or what can be done because I want to know the credentials of the person disagreeing with me, please.

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Are you referring to the locations of your records being obscured? On iNat, if a species is deemed to be threatened by location disclosure, it can be set up to have its location automatically obscured upon upload. This is usually associated with species with an official conservation status, but it can be setup for any species that might be poached, collected, etc. You can read more about taxon geoprivacy here.

If you believe a species should not have its locations obscured due to threats being non-collection related, e.g., climate change, you can flag the taxon on iNat and start a discussion about turning off automatic obscuration.


If you have any questions on why particular taxon is obcured and you want to change that there’s a topic about Canadian scheme https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/updates-to-taxon-geoprivacy-and-conservation-statuses-in-canada/21210


Organisms listed as endangered or threatened are automatically location obscured to prevent poaching or other interference. However, YOU can still access the true location of the organisms. If your complaint is about mapping them, I suggest downloading your data and putting the coordinates into a different mapping application for your public presentation.


That’s odd…I look forward to hearing more about what’s actually happening. “Written over” is really vague…I wonder what you could mean. Obfuscated means to render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible. I don’t think iNat is obfuscating anything.

Maybe if you link to a specific observations that has been “written over”, folks could determine what you might be referring to.

Your “monarch” observations don’t have locations being obscured, or anything being written over or obfuscated (also, none of them are monarchs–so this link no longer brings up those observations b/c others have corrected the IDs)

One of your three badger observations have locations obscured because you elected to have it obscured. It’s a choice that you made.

For several of your observations, you have elected to obscure their locations:
“Geoprivacy is obscured: Observer has chosen to obscure the coordinates”


It’s not exactly important/relevant to their question (although I must admit, the OP’s actual question is a bit ambiguous to me), but here is their profile. A lot of people don’t link their profiles on the Forum, not a big deal.

Does that same wording show for automatically obscured locations? I don’t remember.

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Ok. Forget about it.

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there’s different wording depending whether the location was automatically or manually obscured



When you click on the details you can see this extra bit of information:

Why the Coordinates Are Obscured

  • Geoprivacy is obscured: Observer has chosen to obscure the coordinates.

Even for the ones with open coordinates, you have the accuracy set to a 20 km radius. Also FWIW, none of the observations IDed as monarchs actually are.


Please provide examples of the observations where this is happening (URLS of the observations would be best). Without specific details it’s difficult or impossible to diagnose an issue.


Maybe like this one?

I don’t use the app - but I have seen advice on others to - synchronise the app. Is that the issue?

I wonder if by “covering up” or “written over” you mean that people are suggesting different identifications than what you originally made? It does appear that many of your initial identifications have been incorrect and corrected by others. If this is the problem, then this is actually a benefit of iNaturalist, not a flaw.

If you want to know the credentials of anyone providing an ID different than your own, be aware that you’d make more progress by posting a friendly comment in reply to their ID asking what characteristics they’re using for the ID. iNaturalist is a community in which we communicate in a friendly way with one another and learn about nature together. I doubt most folks will respond nicely if you question their credentials. I have a PhD in biology, but don’t know anything about identifying diatoms, for example. No one receives a “license” to identify certain taxa. There are amateurs who are better qualified at identifying certain things than I am–but lack any “credentials” to hang on the wall.


To tag onto that concept it’s also worth mentioning that the iNaturalist suggestions aren’t perfect. The AI can be incredibly accurate in some cases and in others the actual species is not present in the suggestions. There could be many reasons for this, some complex but some not. If someone is disagreeing with your initial ID that was made using iNat’s AI identification, I wouldn’t be too surprised. Usually people that are suggesting a species that isn’t the one proposed are confident in their conclusions and are just trying to help.


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