FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2020) — The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is offering a unique opportunity to name a new species through an auction to help support vulnerable wildlife facing threats in the Commonwealth.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife at-risk species biologist Zack Couch discovered the rare crayfish near Louisville, and it is only known to exist in a few streams in Jefferson, Bullitt and Meade counties.
Funding for the conservation of fish and wildlife species in Kentucky has historically come from fishing and hunting user fees, but these sources are not keeping pace with conservation needs for species that are not hunted or fished for.
“If you know a hero of conservation, I can’t think of a higher honor than naming a new species after that person,” Couch said. “A donation for naming rights will both recognize that person and serve the cause of conservation into the future.”
Part of the formal recognition process for a new species is giving it scientific and common names. While Kentucky Fish and Wildlife will select the scientific name, the agency decided to auction the rights to the common name.
Auction proceeds will support “Kentucky Wild,” a department program that works to conserve vulnerable wildlife species in Kentucky that are not hunted, fished or trapped.
“Crayfish have a global distribution, and this is a species whose geographic range overlaps with a major metropolitan area,” Couch said. “This is a rare opportunity for an organization or person to name a new species while supporting conservation efforts through the Kentucky Wild program.”
The winning bidder may name the crayfish to recognize a person or use the opportunity to recognize a business or organization.
This is the first time that the naming rights to a species native to Kentucky are being made available for public bid. Similar auctions of species naming rights have successfully raised awareness and funding for new species research outside of Kentucky.
The auction for the rare crayfish’s naming rights ends January 31, 2020. Individuals, businesses or conservation organizations may submit bids. The common name selected must be suitable and in keeping with the department’s mission.
For more information on the Kentucky Wild program, and to place a bid, go online to: https://app.fw.ky.gov/kywild/crayfishbid.aspx.