An Arizona Park Is Microchipping Plants to Stop Cactus Thieves
Saguaro National Park has a message for some of its visitors: Stop stealing the cacti. Cactus theft has become so common that officials at the Arizona national park have placed microchips in its famous Saguaro cactus plants in an attempt to deter visitors from stealing them, KTAR News reported.
Officials have placed microchip IDs in about 1,000 cacti along the park's most accessible areas to help identify stolen plants. The digital tags will serve as identifiers to help determine if a cactus was stolen from the park. Officials acknowledged that the chip can't be tracked. Instead, it can be scanned with a special reader, and the system can be used to determine if a cactus was stolen from the park.
“It’s ironic that we set aside great places like Saguaro National Park, and people think that they can just come take the iconic cactus for which the park is named,” Kevin Dahl, a program manager for the National Park Conservation Association in Arizona, told KTAR News.
Dahl noted that the plant is a lucrative target because it can be sold for as much as $100 per foot. The Saguaro cactus is one of the defining plants of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and can grow to be more than 40 feet tall.
Saguaro National Park does not have a record of how many cacti have been stolen, but officials said they have found holes throughout the park where the plants used to be. Park officals are hopeful that the new technology will stop this ongoing problem and protect the park's natural resource.
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