There's a federal effort underway to preserve some rare breeds of cacti that grow not in the deserts of the Southwest, but in the swamps of Florida.

FOX's Eben brown reports from Miami:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now designating close to 8,000 acres of Florida wetlands as a critical habitat that ought to be put under special conservation rules to protect two distinct species of cacti.

The experts say both the Florida semaphore and the aboriginal prickly apple have, for too long, been threatened by both invasive plant species and poachers. Vandals are known for stealing wild grown Florida cacti to sell.

The semaphore can't even be found growing wild on the Florida Keys anymore. The critical habitat includes federal, state, and locally-managed land masses.

In Miami, Eben Brown, FOX News.