Do you recall the height of the pandemic when you were essentially confined to your home around the clock? Did you happen to notice that empty, uninspiring corner of your living room and think, "A philodendron would work wonders there."
If such a thought crossed your mind, you likely visited your local plant nursery. But, believe it or not, there’s an entire hidden black market booming as the demand for rare and exotic plants soars. Bad Seeds delves into everything you could want to know about illicit plant poaching and the underground economy it propels.
The combination of high demand and diminishing supply drives prices to astonishing heights. Rare plants can sell for thousands of dollars, frequently changing hands on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.
Private encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp make locating rare plants even easier. It is as though the seeds of the perfect crime have been sown, and criminals are here for some unscrupulous harvesting. And because this crime isn't the most conspicuous, the budgets allocated for its investigation and prevention tend to be pretty wilted.
Illegal wildlife poaching isn’t something you see people adding to their LinkedIn profile, but there are professionals who go to great lengths to acquire rare orchids, nearly-extinct cacti, or valuable baobab lumber; all through illegal channels.
Summer Rayne Oakes dives deep into the world of plant trafficking and unravels its mysteries. She interviews buyers, sellers, casual enthusiasts, and devoted collectors, as well as those who confronted the criminals within this vast, unknown black market.
Like sunlight illuminating a fern's delicate petals, Bad Seeds exposes a crime you might not even realize exists. The illicit plant trade, a multi-billion-dollar industry, operates covertly. As criminals and cartels shift their focus to smuggling rare or endangered plants, we all face increasingly high stakes.
Have a listen and share what you think.
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Apr 6, 2023
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