Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 23, 2021

Global Cactus Traffickers Are Cleaning Out the Deserts

The New York Times reports on the growing problem with cactus theft

A recent raid in Italy involving rare Chilean species highlights the growing scale of a black market in the thorny plants.

Andrea Cattabriga has seen a lot of cactuses where they didn’t belong. But he’d never seen anything like Operation Atacama, a bust carried out last year in Italy. A cactus expert and president of the Association for Biodiversity and Conservation, Mr. Cattabriga often helps the police identify the odd specimen seized from tourists or intercepted in the post.

This time, however, Mr. Cattabriga was confronted by a stunning display: more than 1,000 of some of the world’s rarest cactuses, valued at over $1.2 million on the black market.

Read more at Global Cactus Traffickers Are Cleaning Out the Deserts- The New York Times


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