Microchips now used to detect saguaro theft
Saguaro cactus can grow to up to 50 feet tall, weigh up to six tons and live for 200 years. The National Park near Tucson is named for them. But ongoing theft of these iconic giant cacti with armlike branches has prompted park officials to embed them with microchips, similar to those used for identifying pets. Park rangers have spent $3,000 to chip 1,000 saguaros along the areas most accessible to visitors.
The most endangered cacti are the most valuable and therefore the most susceptible to theft, and the problem isn’t limited to saguaros.
Be sure to purchase cactus plants from reputable nurseries and businesses. Ethical Desert in Pueblo, CO is a sustainable and ethical Cactus and Succulent nursery specializing in Agave, Cactus, Succulents and other cold hardy varieties. They collect seed from the wild (never more than 15%) and propagate them. “We’re dedicated to offering plants and information that support long-term ecological balance and build a love of sustainable gardening.” You can visit their booth (and many others) at the annual CO Cactus & Succulent and RMCNARGS plant sale at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds April 29-30.