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Media Release: SANParks Honorary Rangers act to help save irreplaceable cycads

20 February 2015

These popular landscaping and gardening plants are in demand. Due to the slow growing nature of these plants, nurseries do not have enough stock to supply in the demand for these unique plants. This has led to a huge poaching problem where plants are illegally taken from their natural habitat and sold to the public and collectors.  Populations are under severe pressure and many species have all but disappeared from their natural habitat. Huge areas have been completely stripped of their plants. Despite the fact that these plants are protected by law, making it illegal to remove any plant without the necessary permits, the destruction of natural populations continues.

The successful confiscation has now created a problem as these plants now needed to be returned back to nature. Moving a large number of trees of potentially more than a ton each is a difficult and costly task. Proper care needs to be taken of these plants to prevent bacterial and fungal infection due to damage to their roots. It would be a great tragedy if these magnificent plants are confiscated, only to end up dead next to the road. Expert help was called in and a rescue effort is currently underway to return the plants to their natural habitat.

An emergency call was made over the weekend to the SANParks Honorary Rangers to provide funding for the re-planting of these cycads. Immediate action was taken and the Honorary Rangers provided an amount of R 100 000 to fund the rescue effort. Arrangements have been made to supply planting equipment and preventative treatments. Currently the process is well underway to return these plants to their natural habitat.

The SANParks Honorary Rangers is a public volunteer organization and is dependent on public support to raise funds to support conservation activities in our national parks. Members of the public are requested to assist in the effort to save the cycads by donating funds to the SANParks Honorary Rangers effort.  Donations can be made directly to the SANParks Honorary Rangers bank account and by adding the word “Cycad”.

For more information on the SANParks Honorary Rangers visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org

Bank account details:

SANParks Honorary Rangers
Nedbank
Branch Code: 158 550
Account No: 1585 392 448
Account Type: Current
Reference Code: Cycad

Cycads
The truckload of cycads which were confiscated by authorities over the Valentine’s weekend in Addo area of the Eastern Cape. 

Issued by:
South African National Parks (SANParks) Honorary Rangers

Media Enquiries: 
Trevor Kolk
South African National Parks (SANParks) Honorary Rangers: National Executive Committee, Communications
Tel: 012 654 6503; Cell: 073 549 1575
Email: trevor@honoraryrangers.org 

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