Thief makes life hard for little critters

Northern White Cedar cones Flickr photo by Howard Price

A no-good solar-stealing thief is undermining a conservation project in Northern Minnesota that is attempting to establish a grove of Northern White Cedar trees.

Conservationists have had a difficult time establishing a grove of the trees. It seems the critters would rather eat the seedlings today than have a snack while enjoying shelter among the more mature trees. So a group of conservationists erected an electric fence to keep deer away as the trees matured. Along with the fence, the thief stole solar panels and a battery that were used to power the fence.

DNR: “The seedlings are not a size where they will survive without continued protection, said Larry Petersen, International Falls area wildlife manager. “This is the second equipment theft at the location, and with a remote site, relatively easy access, and limited security options, it could continue. It’s too bad one individual has to ruin a project that involved the hard work of so many people – including the MDHA volunteers whose fundraising efforts provided $7,500 for the initial project costs.”

The state Department of Natural Resources reports the items stolen in the recent incident are worth $1,000. The future of the project appears to be in jeopardy.

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