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Poachers traffic in succulent plants in South Africa

Poachers traffic in succulent plants in South Africa He was already handcuffed when Kafil realized he had been set up. When he saw it, police officers hurriedly opened the eight large cardboard boxes he brought.

It seems that thousands of small brown dumpling-like plants (Conophytum native to this part of Africa) have recently been excavated.

Conophytum is a species of flowering plant consisting of more than 100 species, some of which are designated as endangered, due to growing demand from collectors and enthusiasts around the world, especially in China and South Korea. Experts say it is the latest victim of the global wave of succulent smuggling caused.

Poachers traffic in succulent plants in South Africa According to the World Wildlife Fund, South Africa is home to about one-third of succulents, and experts say this wave of poachers poses a serious threat to biodiversity.

“Captain Carol du Toit, who arrested the unbelievers behind the sting operation, said,” Conofitem is big now. ” DuTweet, a fan of the fight himself, said he spends most of his time investigating the case of stolen cattle, but since 2012-2018, the fight against shield hunting has become a full-time job. It has become.

“80% of these are plant cases,” he returned to the office and pointed to a pile of case files piled up on the floor next to his desk. “The problem is getting bigger and bigger.”

Once considered a poor South African plant, succulents have become an international epidemic in recent years for their strangeness, sculpture, and unnecessarily low maintenance. The search for #Succulents has received over 12 million hits on Instagram.

The Covid-1 pandemic epidemic has already boosted the bright houseplant industry, and since the first blockade was imposed in 2020 in many countries, horticultural centers have seen a surge in indoor plant sales.

Law enforcement officials said the epidemic also changed the way juicy hunters were treated. A few years ago, Du Toyet and his colleagues arrested almost all foreigners, mainly in Chinese and South Korean passports. However, foreign buyers have been recruiting locals for poaching since the epidemic banned travel.

“They provide GPS readings to the locals where the plants grow,” DuToit said.

This change has led national nature maintenance authorities to confront more and more young unemployed people who are finding the survival potential of these plants.

After his arrest, Kaffer said, “This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. Two police officers counted the coniferum he was trying to sell and put it in a bag of evidence. The first box. There were just 1,424 plants. ”

40-year-old Kaffar wanted to win 160,000 rands on his plants, about 11 his 11,000 rands, but Du Toyet said his overseas market value was much higher.

Kaffer, a former diamond miner, has been absent from work for over a year and is having a hard time feeding his family, he said. South Africa’s unemployment rate has risen to about 33% during the epidemic.

Prisoners are usually offered the option of fines, suspended sentences, or short-term imprisonment.

In the northern and western Cape botanical gardens and greenhouses, where poaching epidemics are most deadly, botanists struggle to cope with the large influx of succulents seized from poachers. Due to the large number of people replanting in the wild and facing the risk of contaminating the rest of the wild population, authorities are now as long as possible until they make a long-term decision on what to do with wildlife. I want to stay alive.

“I literally went through a series of incidents,” said a Cape Town botanist who helped care for the seized succulents and acted as a prosecutor’s expert witness. Mentioning recent threats from his colleagues, the man asked not to name him.

In his storage facility, where he said he received about 2,500 poached conifers a week from the beginning of the year, trays filled with succulents are next to a series of metal tables, each different. I have a police bust.

One table contained a mixture of Hawarcias, Adromiscus, Gasteria and other types of succulents seized from Czech poachers in 2019. Next to it was a tray of coniferum confiscated by a South Korean poacher who had fled California authorities. , Where he is facing the crime of stealing more than $ 500,000 Dudley Farinosa plants.

“These were caught by mail,” said the botanist, pointing to some boxes of miniature Conophytum wood. “It’s just crazy-people can’t get plants fast enough.”

Rising prey tides is a big challenge. The South African government lacks police officers in the large open space where Conophytum grows. Also, plants specialize in crime

Poachers traffic in succulent plants in South Africa

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