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U.S. museum curator exploited research permit in Türkiye, official document reveals

Anadolu Agency TÜRKIYE
Published May 15,2024
(AA Photo)

The official research permit issued to U.S. curator Lorenzo Prendini, who was released under judicial supervision after allegedly being caught attempting to smuggle endemic species out of Türkiye, showed that he violated the conditions of the document.

The research project on the "Unravelling Diversity and Evolution of the Anatolian Scorpio Fauna," led by Turkish Professor Ayşegül Karataş and also involving Lorenzo Prendini, Curator of the Arachnida and Myriapoda Collections at the American Museum of Natural History, was granted permission by the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry under specific conditions.

The document stipulated that foreign academics should not conduct fieldwork without the presence of the Turkish academics mentioned in the project.

The permit letter stressed that neither samples collected during the studies nor any products derived from them should be taken out of the country or used for commercial purposes.

The materials obtained during the research would be examined at Niğde Ömer Halisdemir University and would not be taken out of the country, the document noted.


Prendini was detained in Istanbul on Monday for allegedly attempting to smuggle endemic poisonous species from Türkiye.

Istanbul police organized an operation at Istanbul Airport after detecting an attempt to smuggle the species abroad.

Prendini was detained during the operation where 88 plastic tube bottles containing liquids and 58 clip-on bags with approximately 1500 scorpions, tarantulas, and spiders endemic to Türkiye were seized from his luggage.

The suspect has faced charges under Türkiye's anti-smuggling law.

After the procedures at the security office, Prendini was taken to the courthouse accompanied by the police and was released under judicial supervision.

The DNA information of endemic species of poisonous animals living in Türkiye can be used for medication production.

It is estimated that 1 liter of medicine derived from scorpion venom has a market value of around $10 million.