Protect California Dudleya

Cymosa pumila. Photo: Stephen McCabe

Stop Illegal Poaching of Dudleya: Support AB 223

State and federal wildlife agents have identified a surge in Dudleya (also known as “liveforevers”) poaching along California coastlines. Poachers were caught stealing thousands of plants, shipping them internationally, and selling them as trendy houseplants for top dollar. Investigators now estimate that poachers have stolen several hundreds of thousands of Dudleya from California worth tens of millions of dollars. Asm. Member Christopher Ward of San Diego has introduced AB 223 that makes Dudleya poaching illegal.

What exactly is a Dudleya?

Dudleya is a genus of succulent plants in southwestern North America that includes 47 species and 21 subspecies.

  • 26 species of those species are native to California and grow along coastal cliffs
  • More than half of California’s species are ranked as rare
  • 10 of California’s Dudleya are classified as threatened or endangered under the Federal and/or California Endangered Species Acts.

What you should know

People often associate poaching with white rhinos and shark fins, but plant poaching is a serious problem that puts dozens of species at risk every year. Succulents like Dudleya, orchids, cacti, and carnivorous plants are regularly stolen from wildlands and sold on the black market. In some cases, 100-year-old Dudleya have been uprooted from California cliffs and sold for thousands of dollars only to die within a year.

Why Assembly Bill 223?

Today, state law enforcement officials and district attorneys must rely upon a non-specific section of the penal code to prosecute Dudleya poachers. To date, officials have gotten lucky in that they have been able to try cases due to the presence of criminal conspiracies. Without a criminal conspiracy, the penalty for Dudleya poaching would be extremely low and may limit prosecution. Asm. Member Christopher Ward (D-San Diego) has introduced AB 223 to close this gap.

  • AB 223 give law enforcement officials and district attorneys the tools necessary for prosecution and enforces penalties that are large enough to deter poachers.
  • Assembly Bill 223 makes it explicitly unlawful to steal and sell Dudleya taken from state, local, or private lands, and establishing strong penalties for violations.

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