The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park has issued an appeal for the return of two ‘Chocolate Orchids’ recently stolen from the attraction’s Orchid Boardwalk.
This incident is the latest in a series of plant thefts at the popular attraction, according to a post on the park’s official Facebook page Friday.
“The Cayman Islands Tourism Attraction Board and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park are asking for the thief to return the plants as soon as possible that they may be placed in their rightful home and cared for by trained experts,” the post said.
Botanic Park horticultural manager Nick Johnson, in the post, spoke of the distress the theft of the orchids has caused staff.
“They (the orchids) were just recovering from a theft of a cutting that happened last year. What is frustrating is that one part of the plant was sending up a flower. It is always sad to see our work destroyed,” he said.
The post noted that the management and staff of the Tourism Attraction Board and the Botanic Park were “saddened” to announce the theft of the orchids, identified as Encyclia phoenicia.
“We have put in many hours and a lot of money into making the Orchid Boardwalk look the best it can. Unfortunately, we’ve already had several thefts this year,” Johnson added.
He said that anyone tempted to take cuttings or plants from the Botanic Garden should remember the time and effort put into the collections.
Botanic Park general manager John Lawrus said that plant theft is a “real occurrence all over the world; from personal gardens through to botanic gardens and parks.
“When plant theft happens, the gardeners and horticulturists who put their heart and souls into their work take it personally.”
The Botanic Park is home to 10 of the 28 orchid species recorded in Cayman, with four of those endemic (found nowhere else on earth), according to the attraction’s website.
The park offers propagation services, the post added, saying that if anyone is interested in purchasing a specific plant housed within its property they can email [email protected] for further information.