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.