Herald on Sunday

Police bust prickly black market


Armed with a search warrant, Italy’s police wildlife unit entered the house of a suspected cactus trafficker, finding more than 1000 rare cacti poached from Chile’s Atacama Desert in a locked room. This February 2020 discovery became one of the largest known cactus busts and the catalyst for an internatio­nal effort among cacti experts, police, conservati­onists and Government­s to return the plants to their native countries. Hundreds of Copiapoa cinerea and Eriosyce cacti had been uprooted from the desert and sold to clients, mostly in Asia, for as much as €1200 ($2053).

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