Cape Cycad Society offers R10k reward after theft

Cape Town – The Western Cape Cycad Society is offering a reward of R10 000 for any information leading to the arrest of anyone linked to the theft of critically endangered cycads.

In the last three weeks 24 cycads have been stolen from the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, including 22 critically endangered Albany cycads and two Grahamstown cycads, according to a statement.

Kirstenbosch Senior Horticulturist, Phakamani Xaba, told News24 the Western Cape Cycad Society has offered a R10 000 reward that will lead to an arrest.

“Nobody has come forward yet but the Hawks are also involved and carrying out an investigation,” he said.

According to Xaba this is not the first time that cycads have been stolen at Kirstenbosch. “Encephalartos woodii suckers [stem offshoots] were being stolen and we’ve had to place cages around the plants.”

The stolen plants were aged between 11 to 23 years and were planted in the Garden three years ago, said an earlier statement.

Xaba told the Cape Times earlier in August that the plants are worth approximately R200 000.

Cycads are considered as “living fossils” and are the oldest living seed plants, having survived three mass extinction events in the earth's history.

For more interesting facts about cycads see this article.