- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Four men face charges of removing 970 Venus flytraps from the wild in the first case since the poaching the plant was made a felony.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said the four men were arrested Jan. 3. A wildlife officer had been investigating reports of suspicious activity at Holly Shelter Game Land in Pender County for several weeks.

Venus flytraps are rare, carnivorous plants that feed on insects and grow in swamps and bogs. They’re found on Wildlife Commission game lands in Pender, Brunswick, Onslow and New Hanover counties. It’s estimated only 35,000 plants remain in the wild.

Prior to Dec. 1, 2014, it was a misdemeanor to remove the plant from the wild. If convicted, the men face up to 29 months in prison and fines.

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