Poachers using science papers to target newly discovered species

The Guardian reports: Academic journals have begun withholding the geographical locations of newly discovered species after poachers used the information in peer-reviewed papers to collect previously unknown lizards, frogs and snakes from the wild, the Guardian has learned.

In an age of extinctions, scientists usually love to trumpet the discovery of new species, revealing biological and geographical data that sheds new light on the mysteries of evolution.

But earlier this year, an announcement in the Zootaxa academic journal that two new species of large gecko had been found in southern China contained a strange omission: the species’ whereabouts.

“Due to the popularity of this genus as novelty pets, and recurring cases of scientific descriptions driving herpetofauna to near-extinction by commercial collectors, we do not disclose the collecting localities of these restricted-range species in this publication,” the paper said. [Continue reading…]

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