About Cycadfriends

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Cycadfriends is a registered public-benefit, non-profit organization established for the following sole objective: To provide a platform for members of the public and specialized agencies to collectively raise awareness in terms of the conservation of cycads, primarily underlining the importance of ensuring that there is a constant, legal supply of artificially propagated cycads to supply the commercial demand, so that people do not have to resort to illegal means such as the poaching of threatened, protected, endangered and critically endangered wild specimen of cycads to sell to collectors and/or hobbyists.

In short, we promote conservation through artificial propagation of legally acquired/grown specimen and by actively discouraging the illegal trade of cycads. It is our part of the agreement with government when we commit to the hobby of collecting cycads. When we grow cycads in our gardens and sell the offspring to fellow collectors, it ensures that there is always stock available on the commercial cycad market, so that collectors do not have to move to inhumane acts such as degrading the quality and sustainability of nature for their own financial gain. We encourage commercial trade of legal specimen and will constantly call for the relaxation of  legislation governing legal trade of less threatened species so that they can become as common as a nice green lawn in gardens across the world.

An over-inflated stigma exists surrounding the collection of cycads and passes unfair judgment against those who aim to trade legally and responsibly, with the primary focus of caring for their own plants. The exaggeration of laws encourage exclusivity, which makes it difficult for people to acquire cycads legally, directly discouraging trade and propagation WHICH RESULTS IN THE DECREASE OF SUPPLY. It is NOT ILLEGAL to own a cycad if you have a possession permit. If this cycad is a CONING ADULT FEMALE plant, you have the opportunity to pollinate the cone which will yield offspring. IF YOU DO NOT POLLINATE THIS RARE FEMALE CONE, you have done a severe injustice of huge proportions towards the concept of conservation. This plant is busy going extinct in nature due to human greed, the inability to curb poaching and a lack of knowledge and resources…… IF YOU DO POLLINATE THIS RARE FEMALE CONE, you might find yourself with a few highly collectible seeds – yielded from legally owned plants, through your assistance with pollination. If these seeds/seedlings find their way onto the market so that people do not have to turn to sinister means, the price will start decreasing and these rare plants will become more freely available. Current legislation prevents this. Instead of encouraging legal trade through facilitating an international process and declaring a market, regulation prevents freedom of artificial propagation, even in the case of legally-obtained, domestic cycads – by which we are protected in [i]the constitution[/i] as we are enjoying the fruits of this earth of which all may do in a sustainable & responsible manner. The cycads we grow and care for in our gardens and nurseries have no negative impact on habitat colonies.

We are a community of cycad enthusiasts, hobbyists, collectors and conservationists who exist in the spirit of educating society about the dire conditions of the world’s remaining wild cycad populations. It is an initiative that started in South Africa, with aspirations to become recognized and endorsed by conservation agencies and concerned citizens across the world – in the spirit of promoting trade of LEGALLY acquired and/or ARTIFICIALLY PROPAGATED SPECIMEN of all genera of cycads. Cycads are very sought-after, even though this is not commercially identifiable, due to the strict administrative requirements that accompany the owning, growing and trading of cycads. What makes it even more complicating, is that almost every separate region in the world has its own set of legislation pertaining to the governance of cycad trade and ownership. The knowledge required to ensure that an individual does not break the law, relevant to his/her unique local legislation, is very hard to come to terms with. It’s almost impossible to know exactly where you stand as a cycad owner, because of the diverse rules and regulations across the world – and the fact that governments are always inventing new ways to govern the trade of cycads across the world makes it hard to stay up-to-date. Example: In Gauteng Province (South Africa) you require absolutely no permits for African Encephalartos, which do not occur naturally within the borders of South Africa. In the Western Cape Province, you require possession permits for ALL Encephalartos. You even need an EXPORT permit to send these plants from the Western Cape to Gauteng (eg.) though they do not even originate from the Western Cape. “Export”, in principle, means that something is taken away from its origin, or source, where it was either produced or occurred naturally – and then send it somewhere else, to a different region, usually across a border. John in Johannesburg can send a plant to Sammy in Cape Town and John requires absolutely no documentation whatsoever – but Sammy requires an import permit. If Sammy wants to send this same plant back to John, he has to apply for an export permit from the Western Cape and John doesn’t require any documentation.

We are here to help convey the message between interested and affected parties, to ensure that a place exists where collectors and hobbyists can obtain cycads legally, thereby removing the strain from our remaining endangered cycad species. This can only work if we ensure that those who participate on this platform – and community – comply with the rules and regulations of trade, thereby simplifying the work of the authorities so that government resources can be focussed on protecting wild populations, instead of targeting cycad hobbyists who yearn to execute their hobbies legally in the spirit of conservation. Cycads are popular. There IS a market for cycads, otherwise we would not sit with the poaching problem. If there is a demand for something, there HAS to be a supply! How much more, if this “something” is a critically endangered specimen of flora that has been in existence for hundreds of millions of years – LIVING FOSSILS! 🙂 By promoting and encouraging the trade and artificial propagation of domestic cycads, we ensure that there is always a supply of plants to the commercial market, “commonizing” cycads up to such a point where artificially propagated specimen are found in gardens and nurseries across the world – while at the same time echoing the importance of protecting the irreplaceable beauty of our planet’s natural cycad heritage and cooperating with governments on an international scale, to ensure that we all contribute to the same essential goal of conservation and elimination of poaching & extinction.

Funds and proceeds collected by and through this community will be applied in a way that benefit cycads in nature. By working hand-in-hand with fellow conservationists around the world, we can identify needs and promote the fact that cycads need care & attention to survive and rehabilitate – as with any other endangered and vulnerable species, such as Rhinos. If a Rhino lies bleeding somewhere on a game farm, emergency responses are kicked off ensuring that the animal is stabilized and rehabilitated. Cycads need the same care and assistance – and through communities and initiatives such as these we can source the expertise to ensure that propagation remains a reality in nature – and that cycads in the wild don’t succumb to greed and the careless nature of humanity.

Join our community of honest collectors & hobbyists who strictly denounce poaching – and who promote the artificial propagation of legally-acquired cycads. If you wish to align your organization with us in terms of collaboration and communication, please feel free to send us an e-mail.

With Cycad Sincerity,
Cycadfriends

 
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