California's ancient redwood forests have survived fires, logging and disease.

Now they face a growing threat from poachers who steal downed old-growth redwood trees in ever-larger numbers, scarring the land and robbing the forest of a vital part of its ecology for the sake of a few thousand dollars.

In the past eight months, five men have been convicted of stealing old-growth logs -- those 750 years old or more -- from Redwood National and State Parks, established in 1968 to protect nearly half of the world's remaining old-growth redwoods. The convictions follow a concerted effort by park officials to crack down on thefts and preserve one of California's greatest natural treasures.

Poaching is a problem in every national park. There is seemingly nothing poachers won't take, be it snakes from Mojave National Preserve, fossils from Badlands National Park in South Dakota, American ginseng from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia or frontier-era pistols from Fort Davis National Historic Site in Texas.


These people should be shot. In the head. Right along with these people. Okay, that might be a little extreme. Very extreme. How about just locking them up? Forever. Without food. In a tiny room where the walls are lined with iron spikes. Tipped with painful, slow-acting poison.

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