Man faces 450 years in prison for poaching Venus Flytraps

Archie Lee Williams, Jr. (41) of Brunswick County, North Carolina, has been charged with 73 felony counts of taking 216 Venus Flytrap plants. He could face 450 years in prison and is being held on a $750,000 bond.

From Port City Daily:

The tiny carnivorous plant is listed as a “vulnerable” species on the state’s protected plants list. Environmentalists and officers tasked with protecting the plant from poachers cited difficulty in the past with identifying whether the plants were grown or poached.

According to the Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC), Williams was caught on camera. He was later apprehended with over 200 plants and digging tools. Williams admitted to a WRC officer that he habitually poaches Venus Flytraps from multiple locations around the area.

Interestingly, while it is illegal to take Venus Flytraps from public land, developers can destroy the plants with impunity.

Image of Venus Flytrap: Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova/Shutterstock Read the rest

Deer-poaching woman brags on dating app to the wrong person

Cannon Harrison, 24, was on dating app Bumble when he connected with a woman in his area who quickly bragged to him that she had just shot a "bigo buck," a large deer, in the darkness. She even sent Harrison a photo posed with her prey and admitted that she had been "spotlighting," taking advantage of the real deer-in-the-headlights behavior to get an easier shot. The woman didn't know it at the time, but Harrison is a warden with Oklahoma’s Department of Wildlife Conservation. And not only is spotlighting against the law but the season for hunting deer with rifles is over. From the Washington Post:

“Honestly, the first thing I thought was that it was someone who was messing with me because they knew who I was,” he told The Washington Post. “It seemed too good to be true.”

Armed only with the woman’s first name, a photo and a rough sense of her location, Harrison searched through social media until he had figured out her identity. The next morning, game wardens showed up at her home...

The woman ultimately pleaded guilty to hunting deer out of season and possessing game that was taken illegally, Harrison said...

(She received a fine of) $2,400, according to the Tulsa World — a total that also includes the fines incurred by a man who had been out hunting with her and took home the buck’s head afterward. Because the woman has agreed to pay her share of the fines, she will not face jail time, Harrison said.

Read the rest

Thanks to a Chinese and Korean fad, California's wild succulents are being poached and smuggled to Asia

Succulents are key to stabilizing the fragile coastal ecosystems of California; they're also extremely popular in China and South Korea, thanks to a fad that's sweeping Asia. Read the rest

Poachers eaten by lions

Lions ate at least two rhinoceros poachers trespassing on a game preserve in Kenton-on-Sea, South Africa. Along with the poachers' remains, rangers found a high-powered rifle and axe.

"They strayed into a pride of lions - it's a big pride so they didn't have too much time," Sibuya reserve owner Nick Fox was quoted as saying. "We're not sure how many there were - there's not much left of them."

More in this press release from the Sibuya Game Reserve.

(BBC) Read the rest

Mammoth pirates plunder Russian arctic for "ethical ivory"

Reporter Amos Chapple went on an expedition with Russians engaging in the illegal but lucrative "ethical ivory" trade: pulling long-buried mammoth tusks from the permafrost, often by illegally gouging out entire hillsides. Read the rest

Minnesota kids get creative to protest lion-killing dentist

Kids in the Twin Cities asked their families what they could do to express their feelings about local lion-killing dentist Walter Palmer. Star-Tribune's Glen Stubbe got some great shots during protests at Palmer's office. Read the rest