NATIONAL NEWS

Venus flytrap poachers face arrest warrants in taking of hundreds of rare plant

Mar 4, 2024, 12:12 PM | Updated: 2:26 pm

BOILING SPRING LAKES, N.C. (AP) —

Authorities in North Carolina have obtained arrest warrants for two people in a poaching case involving hundreds of Venus flytraps, which grow naturally in the eastern part of the state.

Officers with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission obtained arrest warrants for two people accused of stealing nearly 600 of the rare plants from conservation land in Boiling Spring Lakes, WECT-TV reported. It is not clear if the people have been arrested and authorities with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission have not returned messages left by The Associated Press.

Venus flytraps are native to southeastern North Carolina.

“They only grow naturally within a 100-mile radius of Wilmington,” Sgt. Matt Criscoe with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission told the news station. “This time of year they start to bud flowers,” making it easier to find them and prompting increased patrols for poachers, Criscoe said.

He said the plants are sold on the black market or locally.

Wildlife officers responded to a complaint last month about two people digging for flytraps in Boiling Spring Lakes. They were stopped at a local gas station and officers searched their backpacks. They’re accused of harvesting more than 590 plants, Criscoe said.

The accused have not been publicly identified.

Digging up the plants and removing them from public land or land held privately by another person is a felony in North Carolina. ___ This story corrects the status of the people accused to show that arrest warrants have been issued for them, not that they have been arrested.

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Venus flytrap poachers face arrest warrants in taking of hundreds of rare plant