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Thread: ALERT! Cephalotus stolen from the wild!

  1. #1
    Moderator Cindy's Avatar
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    ALERT! Cephalotus stolen from the wild!

    As much as the CP community is aware of Tony's and Sunbelle's stolen plants, I hope this thread will bring about awareness to numerous wild-collected adult Cephalotus plants being offered for sale in the next couple of months. I know this information can be a double edged sword in that it may even encourage some people to buy the poached plants. But before anyone is tempted, please read on to find out why we must never encourage further theft by fuelling the black market for this species.

    I was told that the plants were stolen before the ICPS conference (this October) and the delegates also did not get to see the plants in their full glory. But I didn't think I could be so utterly disgusted with the poacher's (or poachers') behaviour.

    One photo which was stuck in my mind was that of Barry Rice staring at the same area with his mouth wide open in astonishment. But when I saw the patch where there were supposed to be hundreds of Cephalotus, all I saw was barren soil. I nearly burst out in tears!



    I stretched out my hand to see how far up were the Cephs which remained safe. I am 5ft 2" and the thief (or thieves) is (are) much taller.



    The area which was safe from the thief (or thieves).



    Whoever that took the plants had planned to do so. That conclusion came about from the way how the media was put back "nicely". The area was barren yet neat, not full of pot holes which will be typical of an impromtu poaching. From the way the media was replaced, the thief seemed to be planning to go back for more later...when the plants re-grow on the same area. Or was he (or she or they) hoping that no one noticed the completely bald patch?!

    This site where the plants are is found is the ONLY unique site with such conditions. The patch where the plants were removed made up of a significant percentage of the entire growing area. The damage done is nearly irreparable. In 1-3 years' time, the plants higher up the slope is likely to be lost because the media below had been tampered with. Cephs will not become extinct because of this but it means that there is no longer a site which shows how adaptable this species can be.

    My anger and disgust stem from being denied the rights to enjoy the plants as they should be. There are many of us who would like to return to the site with our children or grandchildren to show them how this species grow.
    Cindy

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    BigBella's Avatar
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    Are you quite sure that it wasn't simply a matter of a mass die-off, as Cephalotus has a potential to do occasionally, especially considering your description of the undisturbed soil? I recall seeing sporadic dying patches of them in the field back in 2000-01, where there was scarcely any green -- or red, for that matter, to be seen.

    If poaching is indeed occuring, the Commonwealth of Australia should once again list Cephalotus under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) regulations as threatened and subject to further protection. The propsect of enormous fines and /or imprisonment can be sobering. Cephalotus and Byblis had been removed from CITES Appendix II in 2000; and since, the Aussie government seems fairly unconcerned:

    "All records indicate that the limited international trade in this species is confined to artificially propagated live whole plants. Most of the propagators and exporters of this species are located on the eastern seaboard of Australia, well away from the natural range of the species. There is no evidence to suggest that wild illegally harvested specimens are being traded either within Australia or internationally. The ease by which this species can be propagated makes wild harvest unnecessary."

    Unfortunately, under the "additional protection needs" for Cephalotus, the regulations currently state,

    "None required, since the taxon is adequately protected in its area of endemism. Since the international trade in this taxon is based on cultivated material and native populations are secure and adequately protected, the removal of this taxon from listing on CITES Appendix II is recommended."

    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    Doing it wrong until I do it right. xvart's Avatar
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    If it is indeed poachers, that is very saddening. Cindy, in the picture with your hand, the solid brown patches of earth, is that where there were Cephalotus and you believe they have been removed? If so, under BB's comment, wouldn't the moss and other growth still be around even with die off? I think that would be a clear indicator of poaching if those brown spots were former Cephalotus patches.

    xvart.
    "The tragedy of life is not that every man loses; but that he almost wins."

    "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

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    Moderator Cindy's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, the poaching is for real. The organisers for the ICPS trip had re-visited the site a couple of weeks beforehand. The area tampered with was still full of plants. But when the delegates arrived, they were greeted by an empty patch. Given that the "disappearance" happened within a very short period, it couldn't be sporadic die-off. There weren't any remains of dead plants.

    In both the first and second pics, the bald brown patches on the lower half of the photos are where the plants were stolen from. All the plants higher up which were intact were all almost along the row or level. Below that would be a wall of empty patches. I couldn't move back any further to take a wide angle photo of the area otherwise it would be clear how the plants were actually taken.

    Like I said, this is the only site with such unique growing conditions. It is the first I visited, followed by others. If this area is emptied of Cephs, there are probably enough elsewhere to make up the numbers. The Australian government is right...there has been no evidence that wild illegally harvested specimens are being traded either within Australia or internationally. There is still no such evidence. However, it seems that someone is not propagating fast enough for sale and decided to take the plants straight from the wild. And from the way the plants were taken and within a particular period, it seems rather evident who this person (or persons) may be. It has to be someone who understands the needs of the species and is currently trying to harden them off for sale.

    Apparently, the theft occured after someone had given detailed directions as to how to get to the plants. I just hope that awareness can be generated enough for the locals to want to protect this site.
    Last edited by Cindy; 11-13-2008 at 09:04 PM.
    Cindy

  5. #5
    BigBella's Avatar
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    That is definitely a shame, and yet another clear reason why so many of us are now circumspect when it comes to revealing wild locations of most anything . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    Moderator Cindy's Avatar
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    It is man's greed, BigBellla. That would destroy this earth...
    Cindy

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    Capensis Killer upper's Avatar
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    dang, that sucks. why cant we see something good for once. can people go in and drop a couple of ceph seed or other plant in the wild? or is that illegal?
    Happy Holiday

  8. #8
    Two flies one pitcher. Minus the crap eating. obregon562's Avatar
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    it would be the same though upper. if only it was that easy...

    Very troubling Cindy. Private collections are one thing, but mass theft of the land is quite another. Very very sad...
    "It's easy to rip on cops, when you aren't the one needing saving"

    My Growlist

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