Saguaros cut down at Saguaro National Park West

Posted at 10:47 PM, Jan 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-25 14:12:48-05

Saguaro cacti have been slashed or chopped up along Gould's Mine Trail at Saguaro National Park West. 

There are at least eight saguaro cacti that are damaged along the trail.

The damaged cacti are about a 20-minute hike from the starting point near the Sonoran Desert Museum.

Cuts to the cacti were all straight and clean.

"That's pretty horrible because we love our cactus, we love our saguaros," said Esther White, a hiker.

This is similar to incidents from 2013 at Saguaro National Park East. Saguaro cacti were spray painted with graffiti early in the year. Later, a handful of cacti were cut down or knocked over. Two men admitted to that second incident and were asked to pay for restoration but could have faced federal criminal charges.

The saguaro is protected here in Arizona by the Native Plant Protection Act and only grows naturally in the Sonoran Desert. There are approximately 1.6 million individual saguaro plants growing within Saguaro National Park.
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact the park's tip line at 1-800-637-9152
The incident was reported to park staff at approximately 7pm on Saturday and an investigation into the incident is ongoing.