CapeNature has reportedly said the theft of endangered indigenous plants in the Western Cape is steadily increasing, causing a major worry.
According to IOL, CapeNature spokesperson Petro van Rhyn said there was a huge demand by plant collectors to own the naturally occurring plants, native to South Africa and Southern Namibia.
“Another reason could be that there was recently a book written by world authorities on these indigenous plants, the Conophytum species, which was then translated – without the permission of the authors – into Chinese and made available. Unfortunately, the book highlights these plants and has caused the developing demand for the species,” the report quoted Van Rhyn as saying.
Possession of endangered species
Police reported in a statement last week that several arrests had been made in four unrelated cases, for the contravention of the Nature Conservation Act.
“On Wednesday, 12 May 2021, at 17:30, at Swawelskloof Farm, R43, Worcester, four suspects were apprehended and found to be in possession of endangered species-flora known as Conophytum Ficiforme. The estimated plant valued is R500 000.
“On Wednesday, 12 May 2021, at 23:40, SAPS Philadelphia received information about a suspicious Blue VW Polo vehicle with a CV registration number at the N7 Engen Garage.
“The vehicle was stopped and searched and a bag with endangered Conophytum species succulents were found. The three occupants in the vehicle are from Bitterfontein area and were arrested on charges of possession of endangered species of Fauna and Flora,” police said.
Police said on Thursday, May 13, at Swawelskloof farm, R43, Worcester, six suspects were caught trespassing and found to be in possession of endangered species-flora known as Conophytum Ficiforme plant. The value was unknown.
On the same day, during a joint venture with SAPS Vanrhynsdorp and SAPS Nuwerus, five suspects were found to be in possession of Conophytum species succulents on the N7 Vanrhynsdorp. The total value of the succulents also remained unknown.
All suspects were arrested on charges of possession of flora without valid documentation and for the possession of protected flora.