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Venus flytrap poachers caught

Four men, ages 22 to 49, were arrested with 970 Venus flytraps in their possession earlier this month at the Holly Shelter Game Land in Pender County, earning the distinction of being the first to be charged with a felony for the crime. It had been a misdemeanor until a law change in December.

The carnivorous plants are rare in the wild, growing in swamps and bogs in southeastern North Carolina. Only about 35,000 remain, according to an estimate from the N.C. Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. 

If convicted, the men face up to 29 months in prison and fines. Efforts are being made to replant the Venus flytraps close to where they were taken. 

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