South Africa Succulents Under Constant Threat of Poaching

In a shocking discovery, shipments of "Made in China" children's toys have been stangely returning back to China, which piqued the suspicion of South African customs officers, Kate Bartlett writes for VOA.

Upon closer investigation, it was discovered that the parcels were really stuffed with poached contraband rather than toys. Chinese criminal organisations, often the same ones that have previously developed smuggling channels in South Africa for illicit abalone or rhino horn, have now shifted their focus to trafficking in succulents.These are unusual plants with fleshy portions that retain water.

The collecting and export of succulents without a permit is prohibited under South African law and those caught poaching them can face a U.S.$20,000 fine or 10 years in jail.


Succulents confiscated from poachers are stored at a warehouse in the Succulent Karoo in the Western Cape, May 16, 2023.

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