Il­le­gal tra­de in or­chid’s bloss­oms in Knys­na

Knysna-Plett Herald - - News | Nuus - S­te­fan Goo­sen

Lo­vers of the green a­bun­dan­ce that Knys­na is bles­sed with and a­vid gar­de­ners a­li­ke are war­ned that you can­not al­ways trust the sour­ce that you buy your pret­ty flo­wers from, af­ter a re­si­dent ca­me a­cross the il­le­gal de­a­ling in or­chids re­cent­ly.

Est­her To­wn­send says she had to con­front a “ven­dor” with an arm­ful of Sa­ty­ri­um or­chids, on his way to de­li­ver them to so­meo­ne who “or­de­red” them from him at the mu­ni­ci­pal dump. “But all in­di­ge­nous or­chids are pro­tected by law and a he­a­vy pen­al­ty can be le­vied,” she said, ad­ding that she thinks the ven­dor was “ob­vi­ous­ly” not a­wa­re of the le­gis­la­ti­on re­gar­ding pro­tected spe­cies.

“All ho­me­o­w­ners should be war­ned that they are con­tri­bu­ting to de­ci­ma­ti­on of the few re­mai­ning co­lo­nies of the­se or­chids a­round Knys­na,” she says.

Lo­cal hor­ti­cul­tu­rist Na­na Jou­bert e­choes To­wn­send’s sen­ti­ments, ad­ding that this il­le­gal tra­de is “flip­pen ter­ri­ble.” “The­se spe­ci­fic or­chids are not a­vai­la­ble in the tra­de – no­bo­dy grows them. I am 99% su­re they we­re har­ves­ted from the wild,” she says.

All in­di­ge­nous or­chids and plants, ac­cor­ding to Jou­bert, may not be re­mo­ved from w­he­re they grow as they are pro­tected by law. “This spe­ci­fic one mig­ht e­ven be en­dan­ge­red but one can’t see w­hat spe­cies it is ex­act­ly till they bloom.”

Jou­bert thinks the pro­blem lies with the buy­er. “If they didn’t cre­a­te the market, the­se guys would not be look­ing for the plants to sell them,” she says.

Go­vern­men­tal or­ga­ni­sa­ti­on Ca­peNa­tu­re spo­kes­per­son De­on Hig­nett says on­ly li­cen­sed (through Ca­peNa­tu­re) tra­ders may sell Sa­ty­ri­um, ad­ding, “If wild har­ves­ted and the tra­der is not the lan­do­w­ner, the tra­der needs the lan­do­w­ner’s writ­ten per­mis­si­on to har­vest the plants.”

Re­gar­ding the po­li­cing the­re­of, Hig­nett says an in­specti­on on Mon­day 10 Sep­tem­ber, which in­clu­ded mu­ni­ci­pal law en­for­ce­ment, pro­du­ced no e­vi­den­ce of the il­le­gal sa­le of plants.

He con­clu­des: “We re­com­men­ded the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty mo­ni­tor the si­tu­a­ti­on and should e­vi­den­ce be­co­me a­vai­la­ble … that they con­tact Ca­peNa­tu­re.”

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