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The Nature Conservancy, Jodie LaPoint, Associated Press
In a 2009 photo provided by The Nature Conservancy, a Venus flytrap is open, in the Green Swamp Preserve in Brunswick County, N.C. Three Brunswick county residents were arrested Monday, Jan. 24, 2012 charged with poaching Venus flytraps from The Nature Conservancy’s Green Swamp Preserve. The flytraps have been returned safely to their home in the swamp.

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Venus flytrap's struggle for survival in the wild along coast of the Carolinas faces an added threat from poachers looking to make a buck by uprooting and selling them.

North Carolina wildlife enforcement officer Matt Criscoe says three people were arrested this week and charged with uprooting an endangered species without permission, a misdemeanor. Criscoe says they took about 200 plants, which they expected to sell for about 10 cents apiece.

A spokeswoman for the nonprofit group The Nature Conservancy says that roadside stands sell the plants for about $15 each.

The species grows wild only in the sandy soils within about 100 miles of the coast of North Carolina and South Carolina.