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Later this summer, scores of literary mavens from all over the world will converge on Montreux Switzerland to celebrate Vladimir Nabokov's life and works. The anniversary of his death is 2nd July.

Only a few will be able to afford the thousands of dollars to stay in the hotel room where Nabokov spent the final years of his life. And a very similar few (if any) will be able to access the museum where his butterfly collection is curated.

Others may wish to recreate Nabokov's daily hike through the meadows surrounding Montreux collecting butterflies. Is this now a regulated activity? If so, where can one obtain the necessary license?

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Lepido.ch is a French-language site dedicated to everything related to butterflies in Switzerland with a wealth of practical information.

According to the site, some butterflies are protected in the whole country and some cantons add further restrictions on top of that. Bad news for would-be Nabokov followers is that Vaud (where Montreux is located) apparently bans all capture:

certains cantons interdisent la capture de certaines espèces. S'ajoutent ainsi au point 1 les interdictions de capture suivantes: Schaffhouse: Papilio machaon, Iphiclides podalirius, Nymphalis Antiopa, Inachis io et Vanessa atalanta; Thurgovie: Apatura ilia, Apatura iris, Nymphalis antiopa, Nymphalis polychloros et Lasiommata megera; Vaud: toutes les espèces (selon RLFaune 922.03.1, Art. 2).

There is no mention of any license (where capture is authorised) or any way to go around the ban (where it is not) and a quick web search did not turn up anything useful.

The “Règlement d'exécution de la loi du 28 février 1989 sur la faune” does mention a number of species that can be hunted with a license (typical game: hare, deer, etc.) or killed or collected (snails and a few mammals considered harmful) and the possibility to grant an authorisation for “scientific work” by “qualified persons” but nothing else and no mention of butterflies.

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