For the record

Eibye-Jacobsen, Danny {ZMUC} dejacobsen at zmuc.ku.dk
Fri Apr 17 04:13:21 EST 1998


Dear colleagues,

	The recent discussion on this list regarding collecting permits
and the deposition of type (and other) material in foreign museums may
have left some of you with the impression that the Zoological Museum in
Copenhagen will uncritically accept and curate any material anyone
wishes to deposit here.  London and Paris were mentioned in the same
connection, but I would not presume to make a statement on their behalf.

	At this museum the policy is to accept material in good faith if
there is no reason to suspect that it has been acquired illegally.
Obviously, these suspicions arise much more frequently for curators of
certain other animal groups and they have a working relationship with
various official Danish agencies that help them resolve any legal
issues.  Fortunately, I have never found myself in a situation where I
have felt the need to contact these agencies, but I know they are there
if I need them.

	I am sure that Linda's remark ("It sure is nice to know that
three of the world's major museums are willing to accept illegally
collected and/or exported material") was not meant to be understood
literally, but probably arose out of the frustration of having to deal
with a lot of paperwork that could be perceived as superfluous.  In
Denmark we fortunately do not (yet) have any equivalent of the Lacey
Act.  In typical Danish fashion, nobody would dream of proposing a law
until a problem becomes very obvious.

	But getting back to the case of polychaete material, I'm sure
Linda will agree that the taxonomic community is relatively small, which
means that we almost always know the scientist wishing to deposit types
personally.  Even at the Smithsonian, which each year receives several
times as much material as we do, this is probably the case, at least
with polychaetes.

	It is certainly our policy here to respect all relevant
international and national laws and regulations.  Most often, a
colleague wishing to deposit type material here is him-/herself a
citizen of the country of provenance.  In such cases there certainly is
no reason to suspect any illegality.  In other cases we make judgements
depending on which country is involved.  Just as an example, I would be
automatically suspicious of any material recently collected in
Indonesia, since I have been led to believe that all collecting in that
country is illegal if not done in cooperation with an Indonesian
university (or government agency).  If we were offered such material I
would question the donor as to the circumstances under which it was
collected.

	Just to sum up, Denmark may not have as strict regulations as
the U.S., but that does not mean that we do not respect the laws and
regulations of other countries.

	Looking forward to seeing many of you in Curitiba (save a
cerveja for me!),

		Danny

Danny Eibye-Jacobsen
Zoological Museum, Copenhagen
dejacobsen at zmuc.ku.dk

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