The ornithologist the Internet called a murderer


It's a scary thing to be the target of online vigilantes who believe in their own righteousness

For some time, I'd been searching for Dr Christopher Filardi, a biologist with decades of field experience in the Solomon Islands. I wanted to interview him for a book I was writing, but my e-mail, sent to the American Museum of Natural History, which once listed him as the director of Pacific programmes at its Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation, bounced back.

The auto-reply said he'd moved to another organisation, Conservation International. When I wrote him there, another auto-reply said he had moved on. I couldn't find him on Facebook or Twitter. The man seemed to have vanished.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 24, 2018, with the headline 'The ornithologist the Internet called a murderer'. Print Edition | Subscribe