We only had a rough idea of the plants location as the Vietnamese kids who found the plants refused to help me to locate and study them. After 2 days of investigation, Charles and I managed to find the exact location that the Vietnamese kids showed on their (deleted) pictures (Can I post them again?).
A wonderful swamp with a big population of Nepenthes mirabilis and Drosera and Utricularia everywhere. I never saw such a magnificent population of crimson Drosera indica before.
This must have been the place. After a few hours of research, Charles talked to the only familly of villagers who lived near this swamp and they told that a few months ago, some Vietnamese from HoChiMinh came and dug all the plants.... That's why we found nothing. They might be some seedlings left but we didn't saw them.
I have to say that I feel angry at the moment and quite sad. These things happen - charles did make the analogy with Nepenthes aristolochioides.
So is N. thorelii extinct?
I don't think so. It must grow in another swamp but as the sprecies grow near human lowland habitations, it will be very difficult to find a place that hasn't been turned into a paddy field in the last century
Tomorrow, Charles and I will visit one of the type locations.
Post by Marcello Catalano on Feb 11, 2010 19:55:15 GMT 7
They dug up all thorelii plants and left all the mirabilis plants. This should be well kept in mind. This also happens very frequently in Thailand, same same. And, I guess, a bit everywhere. Now I want to see if anybody has the courage to sell these plants on Ebay, and if anybody has the courage to buy them (even worse: we might be forced to buy them because there's no plant left in the wild, and if we don't spread the poached specimens in cultivation, the species will disappear forever!). François, if you don't find them, in the future I'll go there too. Having more time to spend there, I might be lucky.
Wow! That's pretty sad. I hope these plants show up somewhere else, hard to believe that this site might have been the only place on the planet where they might have grown, but possible, just like several other species that are found only in a single location; very sad indeed. - Rich
"I'm not suffering from insanity! I'm rather enjoying it, actually!"
im pretty sure i just raged and cussed my lungs out, that is some freaking BS. These plants are either extinct in the wild now, or incredibly elusive for a plant....Why do people do this?! Francois, im sorry to hear about that.......
I have checked, with Charles Clarke, some of the type locations today. There is nothing left as far as we could see but plantations, paddy fields, heveas and houses everywhere. If the species still grows there -very unlikely- it must be in a handful of square meters that will be one day or another wiped out by humans activities.
I have a few locations to check (alone this time, Charles had to go). Let's hope.
Thanks for the support guys. Today, I met one of the poachers... Don't ask me how I managed to restrain myself...
All the thorelii were sold, probably in Thailand as there is no real CP market here and most of the plants come from Thailand or from... the wild. I did see the hybrid between mirabilis and thorelii like the one which appeared on the deleted pictures.
The poacher refused kindly to give me any infos about any other thorelii location pretending he didn't know. Exactly what the other poacher said (and the one we could see with the unrooted plant and the shovel ::)).
I' m not even mad at these guys. They just have not a single clue about what conservation is. They started a collection of bizarre plants and learned by internet (MY big mistake) that it was a valuable plant. So, they tried to get some monopoly. Each time, I tried to explain conservation issues, a cheeky smile appeared on the face of the poacher as if I was saying a big joke.
They're just kids. I hope they can grow up. Like Charles Clarke told me before he returned to KL, we need at least one generation before hobbyists realize the whole situation. Now, they're just bullies or selfish kids. Whatever.
I did meet one young 15 years old grower called Tran Minh (a member of this forum) who is really aware - a very nice teenager- and who tries to spread the good word. But no one listen to him. Tran, you just have to keep on.
This was my last day in Vietnam. A failure. I spent the whole day in one of the type location where I extensively searched for some swamps but almost everything has been turned to rubber plantations more than 30 years ago. People remembered the plants though. Like I already said, N. thorelii might grow somewhere else in some 10 square meters but I just can't afford time and money to do a random search. I will return there only if I have help from the Vietnamese hobbyists. Until, then I will focuse all my efforts on Cambodia where I have full supports fron friends, biologists and NGO who will even grant me some funds for the following years.
I will post some pictures of the thorelii locations quite soon.
Tomorrow, I will return for one week in Cambodia where I will visit a few new locations and doing some work at the herbarium of Phnom Penh.
What a sad and tragic ending to this saga. The plants could end up anywhere, and the Thailand story could just be a ruse, a decoy to divert attention, but can't be ruled out either as there are lots of nurseries that market Nepenthes; but in this small CP community, with internet forums, email and all, they will eventually be found out. Good to know that 'cello might be able to intercept any illegal plants entering the markets in Thailand.
Too bad these poachers were so short sighted and narrow minded, they probably don't realize that they could have made even MORE money if they did things within the law and conservation, plus they could have been the heroes of the Nepenthes world, and farmed these plants as crops, harvesting seed, and having a continuous supply and income, instead of a quick kill and the shame and disgrace of being world known for poaching every last plant right out of existence in its natural habitat. What a shame.
Let's hope TranMinh finds another site in his country some day. - Rich
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2010 22:26:32 GMT 7 by rsivertsen
"I'm not suffering from insanity! I'm rather enjoying it, actually!"
Hi, Sorry for my bad English ;). I mean that I check some Thailand nepenthes forum and I never see they create a thread to sale nepenthes thorelli ;). So I wonder how to the buyer know that they have thorelli. Also thank you for solve my mistake ;D.
Last Edit: Feb 13, 2010 22:23:53 GMT 7 by TranMinh
Post by Marcello Catalano on Feb 13, 2010 22:29:19 GMT 7
Well, as Rich said, the Nepenthes growers community is not so wide, and the plants should appear sooner or later on the market of some Country, in one month or a few years... we should all keep our eyes open in private, but we should stop making "noise" around this plant in public, if we don't want other problems to come... if anybody knows something, you know which people you should contact
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