Endangered Dudleyas

By Mirna Borrego and Antonieta Valenzuela

Did you know that some plants depend on the rich soil of the volcanic valley of San Quintin to survive? These are highly protected endemisms that you can only find in the nature reserves, and others belong exclusively to the San Quintin dunes. One of these plants is the Anthony’s liveforever (Dudleya anthonyi) that you can find on the slopes of the volcanoes.

A dudleya in the Punta Mazo Nature Reserve. Photo by Jonathan Villarreal.

One of the greatest threats is the exploitation and trafficking of these living beings. People commonly associate poaching with the bighorn sheep and shark fins, but poaching plants is also a serious crime that puts our natural heritage at risk. 

For years there have been reports of the looting of endemic plants, especially species of dudleya, and emblematic agaves like the Shaw’s agave.

Shaw’s agave. Photo by Laura Tamayo.

Other cacti and different plant species are sold in the black market. In some cases, Dudleyas of up to a 100 years old have been looted from their habitat to be sold to collectors for hundreds of dollars, but these plants agonize and live less than a year.

What can you do to help?

  • Leave what you find, respect the plants and animals, don’t take them with you.
  • Ask yourself where the natural resources you use come from, encourage ethical consumption, and make sure that you aren’t contributing to the extinction of any living being.
  • Join citizen science and create an account on the iNaturalist app.
  • Avoid buying plants if you’re not sure where they came from.
  • Grow a garden of native plants. They save up a large amount of water and attract pollinators.
  • Share this information on your social media, with your family and friends.
Photo by Laura Tamayo.

Continue learning about this on the second episode of the miniseries Notas de campo where you will discover the nature of Baja California and learn more about our conservation efforts.

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