A total of 44 confiscated cycads, stolen near the town of Jansenville in the Eastern Cape, will be replanted in Addo Elephant National Park. The cycads are estimated to be at least 500 years old.
Four suspected smugglers were recently arrested by the Jansenville SAPS on their way to Gauteng .
They appeared in the Jansenville Magistrate’s Court for allegedly removing the endangered cycads worth over R 2 million.
The suspects are being investigated for ties to a South African syndicate that specialises in trading in cycads. The bust has been described as the largest of its kind in the Eastern Cape.
The truck with two cargo containers was taken to Addo Elephant National Park, where the trees were carefully hoisted out of the containers.
A suitable area has been identified for them to be replanted in the park. They are estimated to be between 500 and 1 000 years old.
Conservation officials have a three-week window period in which to replant the trees. The root systems of the trees are extremely sensitive, and it is hoped that the majority will thrive once more once replanted.