Sunday, May 11, 2014

Burl butchers

Previous posts have covered poaching elephants for their tusks and rhinos for their horns in Africa, but now a new thread has emerged here in America: timber thieves. There have been 18 cases so far this year in which poachers entered national and state parks in California to hack off pieces – some weighing hundreds of pounds – from giant redwoods. Armed with chainsaws, the poachers target the gnarly protrusions on the trees known as burls, that command a high price for their intricately patterned wood. Their thievery leaves unsightly scars on the ancient trees and leaves them open to disease and insect damage. As state park supervising ranger Brett Silver says, “It’s not just a property crime. It’s a legacy, like hacking up a church.”

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