Road Trip 2018
Here's how National Parks are trying to preserve themselvesPoachers are taking everything from cacti to ginseng and petrified wood.
[MUSIC] You're looking at national treasures. Saguaro cacti, a California redwood, an ancient forest turned to rock, treasures being stolen. That's forcing the National Park Service to take extreme measures, to protect what makes these parks what they are. [MUSIC] In Saguaro National Park, rangers are on the lookout for poacher who want to dig up and sell these iconic cacti for thousands of dollars. One way they're trying to deter theives is by microchipping the saguaro. It's a program they started eight years ago. The tag itself is very similar to what's used in pets. It's injected into whatever you are trying to track, whether it be your pet, whether it be the Sororal Cactus. It does not transmit a radio signal, the signal itself is generated by the scannner. So, when the scanner is waved over it the radio waves activate it And that reads the code on the tag itself. So basically just find your way through the needle so you don't stab yourself. I insert it and then you pull the trigger. People can pay $100 for foot to get these fascinating plants in their yards. [MUSIC]. In Washington D.C., the U.S. Botanic Garden has a whole building of confiscated succulents and cacti. [MUSIC]. About five hours north of [UNKNOWN] national park, the Petrified Forest national park is home to one of the largest deposits of petrified wood. It's interesting and colorful and sometimes people like to take it home as a souvenir when Ranger Bill Parker started working at the park he wanted to use Teepee photography to see just how severe the effect was. When we compare the historic photos to the modern photos we were shocked In a way, we're pleased even more, to see that there was actually very little change. Parker plans on doing another round of repeat photography this year. And it's helping the park beat the reputation that it's been stripped clean over the years. [MUSIC] On the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the fight is on to protect wild ginseng roots that can sell for $600 a pound on the black market. To thwart poachers, a mixture of a special glue and powder are applied to the roots of living plants and are buried. The powder is detectable under black light and marks the roots illegal to sell. No powder or technology is currently being used to protect Northern California's old growth redwood trees. From burl poachers. In 2014, 18 burls were hacked out of trees in national and state parks to likely make furniture or musical instruments. And it continues to happen today. Aside from making the trees vulnerable to disease, redwoods need their burls to reproduce [MUSIC]. The rangers at all these parks hope poachers will take note of their efforts with microchips, photography and marking powder and go elsewhere. Because whether it's a 200 year old cactus, a 500 year old redwood or a piece of wood from the [UNKNOWN]. Once it's gone. It's gone. [MUSIC]