Wild collected Phrag Kovachii for sale is still the norm in Peru

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treefrog

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View attachment 20220513_140348.mp4

Here a quick video of a greenhouse full of wild collected kovachii for sale for about 30 soles each (about 7 euros). More than 20 years after its discovery, this plant is still collected in quantities in Peru. While the geographic distribution of kovachii is very small, it benefit from growing in cliffs that are, for some, not accessible to humans.


In the same greenhouse, there was at least 300-400 wild collected besseae from apparently a new locality in Peru. I'm trying to learn more. The plants are smaller than the original Tarapoto besseae and bear a lot of flowers (and fruits). I have the feeling this new population will go extinct very soon given the number of collected plants I've seen in the many artisanal shade houses in Northern Peru.Besseae new.jpeg
 

ByeBye

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View attachment 34681

Here a quick video of a greenhouse full of wild collected kovachii for sale for about 30 soles each (about 7 euros). More than 20 years after its discovery, this plant is still collected in quantities in Peru. While the geographic distribution of kovachii is very small, it benefit from growing in cliffs that are, for some, not accessible to humans.


In the same greenhouse, there was at least 300-400 wild collected besseae from apparently a new locality in Peru. I'm trying to learn more. The plants are smaller than the original Tarapoto besseae and bear a lot of flowers (and fruits). I have the feeling this new population will go extinct very soon given the number of collected plants I've seen in the many artisanal shade houses in Northern Peru.View attachment 34683


These people should be shot or imprisoned immediately.
These can easily be propagated from seed but it's easier to just strip nature. However,it's easier to strip nature from adult plants, that most likely won't make it,than putting in the effort to grow from seed and put work in it for several years.
Peru isn't the only country where this striping goes on. Other examples are Laos and Vietnam. YouTube is full of such videos!
Although it's illegal to sell drugs, worldwide (which is a good thing), stripping of nature goes on allover the world without restrictions.
Cites is supposed to protect us, hobbyists and scientists from this practises, yet they concentrate on making it hard to ship send legally obtained or bred plants in nurseries and private collections to be dispersed to other good people that help sustain the 'captive' population.
and so on ............
 

Cearbhael

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I am sure Peru has rules in place attempting to protect the habitats, but difficult to police because the habitats are so remote!
 

Royal Rea

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It is a 3rd world country and if people know they can make money selling rare plants from the wild to feed their families they will do it.
 

Cearbhael

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Well, not “We” per se, but greedy individuals who are willing to look the other way and get it on the downlow! It is the black market, and the odds they will show up anywhere legal is nil. I can’t say it is “Phrag growers” and orchid people. I truly believe the majority of us have pretty high moral standards. But people who want status plants and are willing to get their hands dirty, so to speak, they are the people they are targeting! Smugglers want to buy cheap and sell high. Or am I just naive?
 

FrankRC

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Not to take away from a serious discussion about a serious issue...

For those of you that read my Phrag. articles in the Orchid Digest you remember I told the world therein that besseae still existed in Peru. Not only does besseae still exist in Peru, if you look at the flower spike in the photo in this thread you see some similarities to v. d'alessandroi and why characteristics of the spike cannot be used as a means to break besseae out into more than one species. I received other photos directly and these plants do bloom their heads off. But they do not, at first blush, appear to branch. No, this is not a new species not even a variety, it is besseae, as are all the other variations of this species throughout Peru and Ecuador and in our own collections. Now all we need to do is find kovachii in Zamora, Ecuador. It's there. I know it is.

Throwing my thoughts into this thread, there are a few things we need to consider. Whether we like it or not, whether we agree with CITIES or not, orchids will continue to be collected for a variety of reasons, starting with the collectors, who are often not those selling outside Peru. 500 of these plants feeds his children, buys school uniforms, and pays for his children's or his wife's eyeglasses and vaccines and maybe a new horse, which he desperately needs. Of course, he is going to pick them up and there is nothing that is going to stop that, especially not words on a page (laws) hundreds of kilometers away and certainly not "wealthy" Americans and Europeans sitting in their living room opining on his actions with health insurance, a bus to a good school for their kids and maybe a pension. Until you have been there this is difficult to understand.

We need to focus some of our efforts on conserving, in Peru, the genetic material. As with kovachii some nurseries should, and probably will, be allowed to collect some of these plants and propagate them. Even if there were no collectors someone will need a road, an airport, a new hotel, school, or community will pop up destroying the habitat. The plants die in a box on their way to Germany or die where they are. However, not if they are in a viable nursery being propagated and protected locally, and that means picking up some plants. That is the only conservation I have seen work over the past few decades.

Look for selfings of these plants coming from reputable nurseries in Peru and hold on to your plants as conservation is within each of us.

Best,
 

Tom-DE

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tree frog, who is buying these plants? Obviously, someone is buying plants or
the locals wouldn't have done this. Seems to me WE are the problem.
I think Angela nailed it!
 
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500 of these plants feeds his children, buys school uniforms, and pays for his children's or his wife's eyeglasses and vaccines and maybe a new horse, which he desperately needs. Of course, he is going to pick them up and there is nothing that is going to stop that, especially not words on a page (laws) hundreds of kilometers away and certainly not "wealthy" Americans and Europeans sitting in their living room opining on his actions with health insurance, a bus to a good school for their kids and maybe a pension. Until you have been there this is difficult to understand.
I was about to mention this since it's something that happens all the time, for example, to endangered trees. Instead of working minimum wage for countless hours, someone could cut down a tree like mahogany and easily pay for their necessities. It's unfortunate, but people do what they can to take care of themselves and their family.

Something similar is with slash and burn agriculture to farm for palm oil. The director of the Oregon Zoo gave a guest lecture and mentioned how he was a part of an organization to try and stop the practice of slash and burn ag, but the locals didn't take kindly to "wealthy" Americans coming over and telling them to completely change their practices. Instead what they ended up doing was calculate how much land they would need to steadily farm palm trees without having to slash and burn more area.
 

FrankRC

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I was about to mention this since it's something that happens all the time, for example, to endangered trees. Instead of working minimum wage for countless hours, someone could cut down a tree like mahogany and easily pay for their necessities. It's unfortunate, but people do what they can to take care of themselves and their family.

Something similar is with slash and burn agriculture to farm for palm oil. The director of the Oregon Zoo gave a guest lecture and mentioned how he was a part of an organization to try and stop the practice of slash and burn ag, but the locals didn't take kindly to "wealthy" Americans coming over and telling them to completely change their practices. Instead what they ended up doing was calculate how much land they would need to steadily farm palm trees without having to slash and burn more area.
Slash and burn agriculture for palm oil is a serious threat the jungles in a lot of tropical locations. A very serious threat.
 

FrankRC

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tree frog, who is buying these plants? Obviously, someone is buying plants or
the locals wouldn't have done this. Seems to me WE are the problem.

These plants don’t go straight from the jungle to someone’s collection. They go to a local nursery who sells them overseas. Then we buy them, sometimes not realizing we buy them, at orchid shows, conventions and through mail order along side legal plants and hybrids. We see a new Peruvian form for sale from a nursery in another country, who imports them legally into the US, and buy them all up because they do, after all, have a CITIES, without ever asking how that nursery got the plants in the first place. Or we are told they are selfings, because this is what the CITIES authorities are told. They are used to make “new” hybrids and “wow fantastic” new breeding lines and we buy up all the plants just the same.

There are just as many sellers in the US, Europe, and Asia, that offer these plants for sale, as there are collectors picking the plants up. We all know who they are, we like their photos on Facebook and we happily buy their plants time and again. Recently a truck full of plants was seen being collected (not going there publicly). They were exported legally and at a recent large orchid show sold out before the show ended. Who is to blame here? The collector? The nursery who legitimized the plants and exported them, or us, who time and again go back to these nurseries at orchid shows and fill our greenhouses with their offerings.

Who is the “we”?

Best,
 

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Yes, you are right. I've seen the harvesting and selling on streets in Vietnam too but WE need to be on alert when so many are sold by a nursery or at a show.
BTW, you can see in a glance when plants are wild colected; damaged leaves, shopped of roots etc. When you order online, you don't know what you will get.
For Europe, there are some German and French "nurseries" that use such practices and trough Spain, it is easy to import. Unfortunately I myself was a victim of such with Cattleya rex that was sold trough Germany a few years ago. Upon arrival of the 3 plants it was clear they were chopped of a tree in the forest. It took me a long time to get them going and now, they are in a safe environment in Europe where they can thrive. A bit disgusted with myself for being involved in such practice. I donated the plants for further reproduction by seed. To be more specific, this is not a nursery or private grower but an official institution. Further I reported this with Cites. The answer I got was that they could not do anything because the Cites was given out in an other European country! However I will never buy anything from that nursery again. If I want something more rare now, I'll make sure it is propagated in a lab, buying seedlings if that is what it takes, as I did with Cattleya rex. I ordered seedling flasks which should arrive any day now.
I do have a kovachii, bought as a lager seedling,it cost me a bit more than I would have liked to pay but at least it wasn't stripped from nature and because it is used to an artificial environment, it's doing well and I'm not afraid it will die because of the unnatural environment it's in now.
This said, In many countries larger nurseries can issue Cites permits themselves .For example in the USA Large companies,being in the business of import, export of live animals and/or live plants, have the ability to access and create their own Cites papers, certainly for export. This I know for a fact as I was personally told by one of the bigger US based exporters. This, I find to be unacceptable and they can put on these papers whatever they like to suit their needs. One more reason why Cites does not work
 
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If I want something more rare now, I'll make sure it is propagated in a lab, buying seedlings if that is what it takes, as I did with Cattleya rex. I ordered seedling flasks which should arrive any day now.
I often buy seedlings for this reason, I'd estimate that around half of my orchids are seedlings. I also purchase from people within the US, but often times vendors do not mention how they acquire them which makes me feel a little on edge, especially if the orchid looks like it's in rough shape, but I can typically find seedlings of what I'm looking for. I find it very rewarding when growing seedlings so I don't mind the wait!
 

rauhaariger

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A very interesting topic, especially what Frank writes about it. It shows that it is exactly the wrong way that many governments are taking, especially in Europe, and abolish prosperity in order to get more climate and nature protection. The opposite will happen. Without prosperity there is no nature conservation, no species protection and no climate protection. Only when the people in Peru can make a living in another way will they stop plundering nature.
 
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