It's very common now when a rare bird, plant, animal etc is sighted or found that the news whips across the planet like a wildfire fuel by a strong wind.
Reminds me a bit of a currently popular commercial - "that's so 17 seconds ago" .
|Go ahead - just try to get a shroomer to give a secret spot|
However great the information networks can be, and yes I've used them to gain some great photo opportunities - I have to wonder if this actually a good system.
Many times I've been given access to private property to photograph a rare plant. bird, animal etc but only with the caveat "Please don't reveal the location" . Too often once the word gets out the property is inundated with people hoping for a view or a photo - to the point that some property owners have resorted to hanging up crime scene / caution tape to keep people out. Not to mention the added burden of too much traffic on rural roads often ill equipped to handle the hordes of people that pour in hoping for glimpse. .
Which leads me to the question - are we doing a service or disservice by disseminating this information? While on the one hand I'm all for people having an opportunity to see something rare in nature, the problem is that once the information is out, there's no way to control who's hand it falls into.
And trust me it can fall into hands who don't fully understand the ethical pieces of rare and endangered species.
Case in point; a USFWS manager alerted me to some very rare orchids he had found growing in one of the National Forests where he works - please, he pleaded with me - do not disclose the location. Publicize this very carefully and thoughtfully. He had seen the damage done when some thing like this gets out to the masses. While posted at different location a similar situation arose, the media pounced on this rarity, and within a week the area had been decimated by well meaning and curious folks. Too many foot prints, too many footprints from people who didn't understand how delicate an eco system can be.
Normally I don't post a rare find with much more than a county as an identifying location. I tend to guard the rare sightings, in an effort to guard the delicate balance that brought the rarity to an area to begin with. I will share with a trusted circle of friends and colleagues; those people who I've come to know well enough to know that they will uphold all rules, regulations, and work in a capacity to protect and preserve the rare sighting. Does this make me greedy and mean spirited or conservationist? Frankly I'm not sure.
I'm curious to hear YOUR views on this. How do you feel about the sharing of locations - right down to GPS coordinates of a rare or unusual sighting? Is it a good thing- enabling more people to have a chance to view said rarity, or is it detrimental? I welcome your opinion!