Collecting El Salvador

Discussion on the legal aspects of insect specimen trading and collecting
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thejsonboss
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Collecting El Salvador

Post by thejsonboss »

Just following up from the topic in the old forum, I confirmed that it is not legal to collect in El Salvador without the usual permit given only to those in affiliation with a university per the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente. You also have to have a very specific project specified with a list of species to be taken and all.

Big disappoint. It seems their wildlife is poorly studied too. Guess nothing will ever change.
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Re: Collecting El Salvador

Post by Chuck »

Check with the Ministry of Clear Cutting Rainforest.

All ministries in Latin America speak the language of plain paper envelope.
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wollastoni
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Re: Collecting El Salvador

Post by wollastoni »

Jason, most tropical countries do like El Salvador now : you need local permits which are given to scientists only.
But this can be done : try to find a US University or Museum who will support your permit application. A lot of University and Museums don't have the funds to organize tropical expeditions and would be happy to get a part of your material in exchange of their help for the permit. Of course you need to show them you are serious in your will to discover new species, subspecies, to make a scientific report, to study insect behaviour. It is useful to publish papers in scientific journals and have a ResearchGate page to proove you have a scientific approach.

Or focus on tropical countries who welcome amateur entomologists. There are very few in South America : French areas (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique) for example, must be some others.
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Jshuey
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Re: Collecting El Salvador

Post by Jshuey »

wollastoni wrote: Thu Jun 02, 2022 9:01 am Jason, most tropical countries do like El Salvador now : you need local permits which are given to scientists only.
But this can be done : try to find a US University or Museum who will support your permit application. A lot of University and Museums don't have the funds to organize tropical expeditions and would be happy to get a part of your material in exchange of their help for the permit. Of course you need to show them you are serious in your will to discover new species, subspecies, to make a scientific report, to study insect behavior. It is useful to publish papers in scientific journals and have a ResearchGate page to prove you have a scientific approach.
Indeed, do a little research to find a local biologist in the country, and offer to hire one of their students (or them even) as local help for an expedition or research at a site or two - assuming that you get a permit or can use their permit. And research could be as simple as "I'd love to help work on the moth fauna of some park or district in the country".

This approach implies a couple of things:
  • You take the steps mentioned above to to create some "credibility" - even just as an expert amateur - if you will. Become an associate with a local natural history museum, write some newsletter articles, publish a paper if you are up for that. But you will need some "street cred" for this to work.
  • your effort is not a one-off collecting trip. You will come back to take additional samples - a good thing in my opinion
  • You will have a second collector with you to keep you out of harm's way - not the worst idea in el Salvador. Plus, you get the bugs they collect. They may want to retain some of the material for their local collection - but that's the price you pay.
  • That you will provide a report back to your sponsoring institution, sharing the results. This is a critical step if you ever expect to sample again (and it adds to your credibility).
It's not that expensive - I did three weeks of help in Belize once for US$1,000 plus room and board (and we stayed in research cabins and ate cheap). About $0.75/specimen for the bugs our assistant collected. I did a similar thing in Brazil a few years back - a bit pricier because we did three 2.5 week efforts, but who else do you know from the US that has collected bugs in that country recently?

So - I just did the google thing for you - and you should contact Eunice Echeverría, director of the Museo de Historia Natural de El Salvador (eecheverria@cultura.gob.sv) who has worked with other entomologists in the country (see https://unsm-ento.unl.edu/database2/99Honduras.htm)

Good luck - it all seems doable to me,
John
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Re: Collecting El Salvador

Post by Chuck »

IMHO all significant field work should be published. Even a general survey of what was captured adds significant insights. The work I’m doing now required a permit, and part of the deliverable is a publication of findings.

Local help in a foreign country isn’t just useful, it’s a must for avoiding all manner of “issues”
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