By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)
When it comes to the word “poaching,” most peopleimmediately think of the illegal taking of large and endangered animals liketigers, elephants, and rhinos. But what if I told you that poaching extends farbeyond negatively impacting endangered wildlife? Another form of poaching,directly related to the removal of rare plants, is very much a real issue thatmust be discussed.
Plant poaching involves the illegal removal of rare andendangered plants from their natural habitats. Illegal plant poaching can occuron government land or on private property when plants are taken without regardto laws and regulations which have been created for the plants’ protection.
In most cases, the plants are then shipped elsewhere to besold via illegal plant trade. In a single day, plant poachers are able toremove hundreds of valuable plants from their native habitats. Estimates maderegarding the value of these plants often range into hundreds of thousands ofdollars.
By taking these plants, poachers are pushing numerous plantspecies closer towards extinction. As more and more poached plants are taken,the value of the plant rises due to its rarity. In recent years, illegal plantpoaching has become more accessible, as the internet has provided detailedinformation regarding how to identify and where to find said plants.
Due to this increase in plant poaching, many conservationofficers have increased protection measures. Frequent monitoring of plantsites, as well as the use of high-tech equipment has helped to deter theinstance of poachers.
If you happen upon rare or protected plants while hiking orcamping, always make certain not to disturb the plant. While it can bephotographed, ensure that there are no identifiable landmarks in the backgroundif you choose to post the photo online. Keeping the location a secret will helpto prevent potential plant poachers from actively searching for the plant site.
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