Insects: The insects photographed were NOT listed in either the IUCN Red List (under near-threatened or threatened categories) or CITES Appendices when acquired. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) list assesses the conservation status of animal and plant species worldwide and is used to drive conservation efforts (1). CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is a voluntary agreement between countries to ensure that the international wildlife trade does not threaten the survival of species (2). The Appendices specify the protected species. All specimens photographed were non-living when obtained and purchased from US-based vendors. Priority is given to those sellers who import directly from farms or breeders. Effectively implemented butterfly farms, for example, encourage the preservation of native habitats needed to raise the butterflies (as opposed to cattle grazing, logging, palm oil production, or other industries that require clear-cutting of the forest)(3, 4, 6, 7, 8). Farming operations can also diversify the economic opportunities in local communities and increase environmental awareness (3, 4, 6, 7, 8)(Challenges: 5, 6, 7, 8). It should be noted that vendors (in my experience) consider their supply chains as proprietary information and will identify their sources by type but not name. Even if known, there would likely need to be a certification or grading system in place to identify which operations are indeed effective (8).
Gibeon meteorite: The Gibeon meteorite is part of a jewelry piece, purchased from a US-based company. The Namibian government banned the export of these meteorites in 2004 through the National Heritage Act (9). The jewelry company states that their meteorite specimens were legally imported prior to the export ban.
1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. (n.d.). Background & history. Retrieved from IUCN.
2. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. (n.d.). What is CITES? Retrieved from CITES.
3. Baker, D. (2015, September 16). Tri Field Notes: Social benefits of biodiversity conservation planning in the Eastern Arc Mountains: Updates from Tanga, Tanzania. Retrieved from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
4. SEED. (2011). SEED Awards 2011: Butterfly farming for pro-poor tourism: Tanzania. Retrieved from SEED.
5. Small, R.D.S. (2007). Becoming unsustainable? Recent trends in the formal sector of insect trading in Papua New Guinea. Oryx, 41(3), pp. 386-389. Retrieved (in press copy) from The University of Cambridge.
6. Rich, K. M., Rich, M., & and Chengappa, P. G. (2014). The governance of global value chains for live butterflies (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs: Working Paper 828). Retrieved from Columbia Press.
7. Boppré M., Vane-Wright, R. I. (2012). The butterfly house industry: Conservation risks and education opportunities. Conservation & Society, 10(3), pp. 285-303. Retrieved from Conservation & Society.
8. Johnson, B. (1998). The fate of the butterflie: The efficacy of butterfly farming as a conservation tool. Retrieved from Bio-Nica.
9. Buhl, S. (n.d.). Gibeon iron meteorites: Part 4: Research after Buchwald. Retrieved from Meteorite Recon.
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