Charges are pending against an alleged poacher of rare Haleakala silversword plants.
Haleakala National Park law enforcement rangers and Maui police recovered on Monday the rare plants, “ahinahina,” taken by a visitor from the summit.
Another park visitor witnessed a person taking the keiki or juvenile silverswords from the ground, place them in her clothes, then leave in a vehicle driven by another person.
That person took a photo of the alleged poacher and notified park staff, who called the park service law enforcement.
Rangers found the suspect in Paia Town an hour later with the plants.
The rangers identified the alleged poacher and driver of the vehicle, and released them.
Charges are pending against both persons.
Park biologists will try to replant the recovered silverswords, Haleakala National Park said in a news release.
“These plants are already so rare, picking them is illegal for a very good reason,” said Haleakala National Park Chief Ranger Ari Wong. “Our most important job here in the park is to protect species like this.”
The Haleakala silversword is federally listed as threatened and found only on the slopes of Haleakala at altitudes above 6,900 feet.
Removing them is a federal crime.