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30 Saguaros uprooted in Tucson

30 uprooted saguaros found on West Ft. Lowell Road

David L. Teibel
Tucson Citizen

A Tucsonan on his way to work Friday said he found about 30 uprooted saguaro cactuses in the desert that he thinks were being stolen for sale. Some of the cactuses were on Saguaro National Park land and some on unincorporated county land, said Gordon McKinley, adding he called 911 Friday morning and met later today with a deputy sheriff and a National Park Service investigator.

Deputies were called to the area near Fort Lowell and Sandario roads around 10:45 a.m. after being contacted by the National Park Service, said Deputy Dawn Barkman, spokeswoman for the sheriff's department.
It was "obvious" someone was trying to steal cactuses from holes that were found and dirt dug out around other cactuses, she said.

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Before I had any interest in Cacti & Succulents I lived for a short while in Northern Arizona and when I would make trips South towards Phoenix I always found the drive to be nice and scenic and sometimes the bends in the roads were enough to make you feel like bringing a change of shorts. But the best part of living there and making that trip South was seeing the first Saguaro in the distance and smiling as the memory of a cartoon, where the Saguaro is made the butt of a joke by an anthropomorphized animal, floods your brain and makes you think of a simpler time.

To me the Saguaro is an American icon up there with the Statue of Liberty and the Hollywood sign and it's removal like this by unscrupulous individuals is just beyond comprehension. I don't think there is a punishment I would think to be too severe for them.


  1. Anonymous11:41 AM

    I am kind of afraid of Saguaros, actually. I think because of a cartoon I may have seen as a small child. It was anthropomorphized and wearing a cowboy hat. I think they look vaguely threatening. But still, there's no reason to dig them up and steal them!

    I wonder if we are talking about the same cartoon?

  2. Hi Sandra,

    lol, the Saguaro has probably been in hundreds of cartoons and sometimes represented like the cartoon from your memory. Since it has been in so many I'm not thinking of a specific cartoon I just remember it always playing the straight man to a wise cracking animal that pointed at it with it's hands in a shape of a guns. And because of the growth habit of the plant it looks like it's holding it's arms up and is being held up.

    That always cracked me up as a kid.



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