Computer Chips to Catch Cactus Thieves

Posted on October 10, 2008  Comments (0)

Feds to use computer chips to foil cactus thieves

Anyone thinking of swiping a stately saguaro cactus from the desert could soon be hauling off more than just a giant plant. National Park Service officials plan to imbed microchips in Arizona’s signature plant to protect them from thieves who rip them from the desert to sell them to landscapers, nurseries and homeowners.

The primary objective is deterrence, but the chips also will aid in tracking down and identifying stolen saguaros, said Bob Love, chief ranger at southern Arizona’s Saguaro National Park.

Saguaros are unique to the Sonoran Desert, 120,000 square miles covering portions of Arizona, California and the northern Mexican states of Baja California and Sonora. They’re majestic giants that can grow to heights of 50 feet, sprout gaggles of arms and weigh several tons. They can take 50 years to flower and 70 years before sprouting an arm.

Related: Fighting Elephant Poaching With ScienceMobile Phone-based Vehicle Anti-theft SystemNatural Park Visits Declining

Leave a Reply