Poaching Orchids

Orchid poaching is a global problem, as plants are torn from the wild for profit, or as a selfish person’s trophy. Around the Great Lakes, poaching is threatening many native plants, including orchids. True orchid lovers know that they need to keep locations secret when they find native species. If word gets out, the plants will, sadly, be poached, and likely be killed in the process. Scientists try to monitor populations, and orchid lovers, photographers, and park rangers try not to accidentally reveal precise locations. “When you post photographs on the internet, people can track the area you’re in by seeing the flora and plants in the habitat around the orchid — it’s like CSI orchid edition.” said Mark Carlson, a Michigan nature photographer. Citizen science projects around the region have yielded positive results, and allowed scientists to better protect rare species. Thanks to Becky Wildt, Megan McDonnell, and Great Lakes Echo for this story.

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