Italy returns endangered plants worth $1.2 million to Chile | DW News

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  • DW News published this video item, entitled “Italy returns endangered plants worth $1.2 million to Chile | DW News” – below is their description.

    Italy has returned a huge haul of illegally trafficked cacti to its home in Chile. It’s believed to be the first time in history that confiscated plants have been sent back to their point of origin.

    Back in 2020, the wildlife unit of Italy’s military police discovered more than a thousand of the rare plants at a house near San Marino on Italy’s Adriatic Coast.

    Some of the prickly plants are centuries old. The total haul discovered by the police a year ago, since returned home, is valued at over 1.2 million dollars on the black market.

    To make this happen, police from Chile and Italy have worked together with the Association for Biodiversity and Conservation for more than a year. Poaching and smuggling plants is becoming a problem, and it’s a crime that threatens biodiversity.

    The phenomenon is known as “plant blindness.” Hundreds of cacti species are more threatened with extinction than birds or mammals and most people are not aware of it.

    Often, smugglers ease their way through customs without hassle because even some custom officers are not aware of the illegal plant trade.

    But this time it’s different. The confiscation and subsequent repatriation of the plants have made headlines all around the world. It has raised awareness — something that may help prevent future “cacnapping.”

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    In This Story: Chile

    Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in western South America. It occupies a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Chile covers an area of 756,096 square kilometres (291,930 sq mi) and has a population of 17.5 million as of 2017. The capital and largest city is Santiago and the national language is Spanish.

    Chile borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Isla Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica under the Chilean Antarctic Territory.

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  • In This Story: Italy

    Italy is a republic in central Europe which forms a peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea as well as bordering France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily form part of the main territory of Italy. Italy is part of the Eurozone, having entered the common currency on 1st January 1999.

    The capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as landmark art and ancient ruins. Other major cities include Florence, with Renaissance masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s “David” and Brunelleschi’s Duomo; Venice, the city of canals; and Milan, Italy’s fashion capital.

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  • In This Story: San Marino

    San Marino is a mountainous microstate surrounded by north-central Italy. Among the world’s oldest republics, it retains much of its historic architecture. On the slopes of Monte Titano sits the capital, also called San Marino, known for its medieval walled old town and narrow cobblestone streets. The Three Towers, castlelike citadels dating to the 11th century, sit atop Titano’s neighboring peaks.

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