WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Friday, students at the Wilmington Friends School and Cape Fear Community College helped to plant 400 Venus Flytraps at the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Garden. The plants helped to replace the more than 1,000 Venus Flytraps stolen from the garden almost one year ago.
The second grade students said they wanted to do what they could to help preserve the rare plants.
"They are really rare," said Maddie Peterson. "One time they could become extinct just like an animal, and one day there could be none left."
The kids said they understand people steal flytraps, something they said is upsetting.
"It made me feel a little upset," said Morgan Steiner. "I didn't like how they were stealing and these are really important to people because they only grow in 100 miles around Wilmington. I feel like that's important."
Representative Ted Davis also stopped by the garden while the students were planting. He said he is pushing for harsher penalties for those that steal Venus Flytraps. Davis said he drafted a bill that would increase the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony in New Hanover County. He plans to introduce the bill in May.
Right now, Davis said criminals only get a "slap on the wrist" for stealing Venus Flytraps. He believes making it a felony would deter people from poaching the rare plant. He said it is important to try to preserve the plant in its natural habitat, since Venus Flytraps only grow naturally within 100 miles of Wilmington.
"Lot of people say, well it's just a plant, and once again it all goes back to how the unique plant it is, how extremely rare plant it is, the fact it's something from here," said Davis. "I'm hoping that by making more public awareness of it, we can be proud of the fact that we have this plant here, it might help our tourism industry for people that want to come and see this very unique plant."
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