Rare poached cacti found in Italy sent home to native Chile

ROME (AP) — A huge cactus bust in Italy has resulted in the confiscation of over 1,000 rare cacti poached from Chile’s Atacama Desert. The find spurred an international effort among cacti experts, police, conservationists and governments to launch the first known rare plant return to their native country.  The Italian wildlife officer whose team made the find says he ” never thought a cacti could be sent by post to Japan for 1,200 euros ($1,430).” Experts say while there’s international concern about the risk of extinction for rhinos, tigers or pandas, few people are aware about the possibility of a cactus species becoming extinct. Over 800 plants have been returned to Chile and are now in quarantine for several months.