Peak Cactus: Can Microchips Thwart Cailf. Urban-Landscaping Thieves?

guarding cactus photo

Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

A few years ago the City of Palm Desert, Calif. gave up on lawns and started converting to indigenous plants that could survive without water. Landscape manager Spencer Knight says "The city decided to stop apologizing for the desert and said, 'We live in the desert; it is what it is ".

Unfortunately, the golden barrel cacti are expensive, and now fetch as much as eight hundred bucks. They have shallow roots and are easy to dig up, so thieves started pulling them out.

So now they are sticking microchips in them.

recovered cacti photo

Recovered cacti

David Kelly writes in the LA Times:

The problem is so bad that surveillance cameras have gone up near large concentrations of cactuses in urban landscaping, and authorities expect to implant microchips into the barrels soon to track their whereabouts.

"Each microchip has a scannable bar code that tells who owns it," said Police Lt. Frank Taylor. "The odds are that we won't microchip every plant, but it will have a deterrent effect." LA Times See also ::The Press Enterprise
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