Saving the Treasure Trove of Nepal’s Orchids

The Nepali Times lays out the perils facing orchids in the Himalayan country. Nepal’s mountain valleys are full of cloud forests with rich orchid life. The country is home to over 500 different kinds. (By comparison, the USA and Canada have about 250 native species.) Many varieties are part of traditional medicines, and are legally exported to China or India. Sadly, many more are illegally poached from the wild and smuggled, which takes a terrible toll on native populations. There are two dozen orchid species among these medicinal plants, including a dozen Dendrobiums. Enforcing conservation laws is always difficult, but determining whether a shipment of dried orchid stems are an endangered species or not is almost impossible. It’s just one of the major conservation challenges faced by Nepal and other countries. Conservation groups hope to bring more awareness and more enforcement to help save Nepal’s orchids.

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