Like Orchids, Cacti Also Have Illegal Poachers

My friend and reporter Jeremy Schwartz wrote an interesting article over the weekend about the increase in cacti poaching in the Mexican desert. Of course, this poaching is driven by demand from our neighbors to the north, particularly by those who practice xeriscaping in their yards. In water-scarce cities like Atlanta and El Paso, many people have replaced green grass with rocks, yucca and cacti. It’s a great idea, from a conservation standpoint. But, as Jeremy points out, some people take this idea a bit too far:

“The trade is fueled by private collectors and the burgeoning xeriscape movement in the U.S. South and Southwest. Rare cacti species can fetch hundreds of dollars on black markets from the United States to Japan. Mexico’s deserts are so ravaged by cactus poachers that researchers no longer publish the location of new species they find, lest eager collectors plunder the newfound cacti.”

The lesson? Ask where your rare plant comes from; don’t turn a deaf ear.

One thought on “Like Orchids, Cacti Also Have Illegal Poachers

  1. Jeremy says:

    Thanks for the shout out Joy. Unfortunately it seems pretty difficult to tell where cacti are from unless your seller is willing to be honest with you. At the same time, the fact that plants were plucked from the Mexican desert is actually a selling point in some circles…On an unrelated note, Queretaro is the bomb!

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