Poachers, climate change push South Africa’s succulents to the brink

Even before the poachers came for it, the dwarf succulent, Conophytum regale — also called buttons, knoppies and dumplings — was rare in the wild. It was known to occur in just one tiny spot in the Namaqualand region and found nowhere else on Earth. 

In the last year, it’s been wiped out. 

“We monitored the site in April last year and when we went back to monitor in April this year, every single plant had been removed [by poachers],” a botanical horticulturist told the Mail & Guardian. “It had been completely exterminated … and is now extinct in the wild.”

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Sheree Bega
Sheree Bega is an environment reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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