Wildlife Trade Observations on iNaturalist

There are observations on iNaturalist which shows endangered species held captive

These animals are suspected to be a product of wildlife trade. My question is what are iNat’s policy or consensus regarding these observation? I believe the observations on iNat can be used to help uncover the wildlife trading network and pinpointing the perpetrators. Is there anyway we can further progress these observations?

Edit: It seems the observations i linked were removed

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I think the best method would be to find if there is a contact method for the authorities of location of the observation (assuming it isn’t obscured) and contact them.

They don’t even need iNat accounts for you to be able to forward those URLS to them to view.


The two you posted seem to be held in an aviary of some sort. Are you sure they are the product of the wildlife trade?

I’ve been keeping track of possibly trafficked animals (with a strong focus on Indonesia) with these two projects:


https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/50381178 it might be located in an aviary, but this one is seems located in a house complex: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/50397546 .

Several observations also indicated endangered species keep as pets but now i found out it was deleted by the users, like this one:

Thanks for made the projects, it’s so useful to know the distribution of wildlife keep being as pets :)


I get link not found when I tried to look at the initial two URLs posted:

Sorry, that doesn’t exist!

Even our dedicated search mole couldn’t find anything!

To be fair, the location is not always accurate. I make a habit of checking location during observation creation on my own observations in the app for just that reason.

Before those observations were removed, I was searching (the first one was endangered and obscured, but the braminy kite was not).

While it did look like a collection of buildings (possibly a house) on satellite view, that doesn’t preclude it from being a building used for a wildlife sanctuary or rehab.
The location was Cisayong in the location field and “Masjid Nurul Palah” on the google map (I still have them in my search history).

I couldn’t find anything about bird/wildlife sanctuaries, zoos or aviaries there, but I figured while it could be illegal, it could also be that the location might be inaccurate, or it that a legitimate but small organization that didn’t have a web presence.


It seems those observations were removed

Same thing happening with observations in South America and i also would like to know if there is a way to stop this observations related to illegal activities to appear as normal observations on the website.


I think these observation help shed a light on what’s going on in countries like mine (Peru). I created this project to help uncover which species are more at risk because of wildlife tourism, which areas are the most affected, and which tourism companies might be responsible.

The goal is to make wildlife tourism more responsible, and minimizing the effect on wildlife and ecosystems.


I think it’s also important to emphasize to iNaturalist users that we won’t punish them for posting these observations since the data can be highly valuable. It’s possible some might be afraid that they’ll be punished or even prosecuted for uploading, which might have a chilling effect on their uploads.
We are not in a position to judge whether or not somebody using the site is responsible for illegal activity, and so we should for the most part encourage users to report sightings and possibly trafficked animals without fear of retribution


Speaking for myself, and not having seen the observations @naufalurfi linked to, I think they’re OK to post to iNat. If you’re unsure, you can flag the observation and/or email help@inaturalist.org.


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Agreed, that’s actually the opportunity to increase awareness while they also can contribute to report the illegal trade to the authority. I contacted the project administrator about this chance but maybe he got me wrong and somehow the students just deleted it.

I think instead its actually good that these observations are on inat, since then we can use the data to track these wildlife trade network

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