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UK Scientists Accused of Smuggling Blue Tarantula Species From Sarawak & M’sians Are Angry



UK Scientists Accused of Smuggling Newly Discovered Species of Spider From Malaysia, Netizens Outraged - WORLD OF BUZZ
Source: Facebook & Meanwhile Around The World

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Just last week, the internet was abuzz after news of a newly discovered species of spider native to Sarawak began to surface.

The species is known as the Birupes simoroxigorum (blue tarantula) and was described in an article published in The Journal of the British Tarantula Society by UK-based arachnologists affiliated with Hope Entomological Collection, Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

The two scientists, Ray Gabriel and Danniella Sherwood, reportedly classified the blue tarantula as a new species in their article and part of its scientific name, simoroxigorum, is a combination of names of the children (Simon, Roxanne, and Igor) of the three European collectors who provided the specimens.

However, according to Science Magazine‘s report on this, the three European collectors were believed to have captured these blue tarantulas in Sarawak and transported them to Europe. These collectors reportedly did so without a permit, according to the Sarawak Forest Department.

Sarawak-based wildlife photographer Chien Lee along with German photographer Lars Fehlandt reportedly found the blue tarantula in the forests of Sarawak in September 2017, six weeks before the European collectors did. 

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There's been quite a lot of news lately about a beautiful blue tarantula discovered by @andrewsnyder87 in Guyana recently. Quite by coincidence, two months ago we came across this amazing tarantula – also a new species, but on the other side of the planet in the rainforest of Borneo. What better testament could there be to the countless and often wondrous new species that still remain undiscovered in the tropical regions of the world. @chienleephotography . . . . . #borneo #spider #tarantula #newspecies #conservation #biodiversity #undescribed #arachnid #discovery #naturephotography #allnatureshots #rainforest #predator #spiders #arachnophobia #animalplanet #spidersofinstagram #color_macro_world #grikart_macro #hot_macros #macro #macrolens #macrolovers #macrophoto #macrophotography #macroworld #macroworld_tr #macro_brilliance #macro_captures #macro_freaks

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The science publication also noted that the collectors’ expedition to Sarawak between October and November 2017 may have been due to them discovering Chien Lee’s and Fehlandt’s photos of the blue tarantula.

The photographers reportedly posted their discovery online along with the name of the nearby city where they had found it, which Chien Lee now regrets.

Selenocosmiinae sp.Biru without flash

Posted by Borneo Tarantula Expedition on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Two of the collectors are now reportedly advertising the blue tarantulas for sale via their online stores, pricing them at USD$300 (approx. RM1,220).

UK Scientists Accused of "Stealing" Newly Discovered Species of Spider From Malaysia, Gets Backlash From Netizens - WORLD OF BUZZ 1

Source: Facebook

Meanwhile, one of the arachnologists, Danniella Sherwood, told the magazine that she had no reason to believe that the specimens they received were illegal, but did not respond when Science Magazine asked her for records of permits for the transport of this species.

News of this alleged smuggling highlighted the issue of “biopiracy“, which caused a lot of concern among Malaysian and international netizens, who expressed their outrage over the potential illegal trade of local fauna. 

Biopiracy refers to when researchers or institutions use knowledge and resources from indigenous communities or exploit the cultures this knowledge comes from, particularly from marginalised communities or relatively lower-income nations.

Read Science Magazine’s entire report about this here.

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments section. 


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An Oil Palm Plantation is Reportedly Encroaching into Sarawak's Only UNESCO World Heritage Site - WORLD OF BUZZ

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