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Protection sought for rare, threatened ghost orchid in Florida

Ernesto Mujica, Shannon Sharka, Justin Mably
Posted at 3:52 PM, Jan 25, 2022

Florida's rare ghost orchid faces serious threats according to environmentalists who've filed a petition to have the flower and its habitat put under critical protection.

As the Associated Press reports, the Institute of Regional Conservation submitted a petition that was filed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asking for protection this week for the orchid under the Endangered Species Act.

Other groups that joined in the submission, according to a news release obtained by CBS Miami, including the Center for Biological Diversity and the National Parks Conservation Association.

“The ghost orchid is emblematic of a wild, beautiful Florida, and this flower’s future depends on our ability to protect it from poaching and habitat loss,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director for the Center for Biological Diversity.

Estimates have the number of ghost orchids in Florida at about 1,500, and experts say the flower has dwindled in the state by somewhere between 30% to 50%, according to the Associated Press.

The flower was made famous after the release of the book “The Orchid Thief” written by Susan Orlean, which was later adapted into to the film "Adaptation," starring Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper and Nicolas Cage.