Fellow Story

Jensen quoted about notorious succulent thief's crimes against nature

Fellow(s): Nick Jensen

The Guardian featured Nick Jensen in their story ‘Crime against nature’: the rise and fall of the world’s most notorious succulent thief.

"In March 2022, Byungsu Kim pleaded guilty to attempting to ferry more than 3,700 wild dudleya plants from California parks to South Korea. ... The 46-year-old South Korean national had been in prison for more than two years on two different continents. According to the US government, he was an “international succulent trafficker”, perhaps the most notorious houseplant poacher in the world. ...

Plant advocates warned that some species of dudleya were so rare that, if they were targeted by poachers, they might go extinct, causing broader damage to entire ecosystems. “It’s not hard to imagine a hillside denuded of dudleya that then sloughs off into the ocean because it doesn’t have any plants to hold it there,” said Nick Jensen, Switzer Fellow and conservation project manager at the California Native Plant Society." ...

“It’s very sad if people are compelled to come to California, or anywhere, and remove a wild organism from its natural habitat, and they end up in jail,” Jensen said. “It’s just a sad story all the way around that I’m concerned, for the plant and the people.”

Read the full story here