LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A saguaro cactus nicknamed “Strong-Arm” is no more. The nearly 40-foot-tall, 34-arm cactus was estimated to be 150 to 200 years old before it collapsed. The once-towering giant is dying.
Saguaros are a symbol of the Sonoran Desert which encompasses parts of Mexico, Baja California, and Arizona. Southern Arizona happens to be the only place the saguaros grow, making them somewhat unique.
Stong-Arm, which is located in the Tortolita Preserve, near Tucson, fell over on Aug. 4, 2022. The cactus is along a 2,400-acre trail system for hikers and bikers. The cactus was a popular backdrop for photographs.
“It was a real treasured part of the skyline here in the preserve, and of course home to many animals as well as a Great Horned Owl that used it for nesting and many other birds. It was really one of those saguaro motels here in the desert,” said Jason Grodman, Natural Resources Supervisor with the Marana Parks and Recreation Department.
Saguaros are slow-growing. One known as “Old Grandaddy” was estimated to be around 300 years old when it started to die in the 1990s.
Goodman said there’s no plan to remove the dead cactus because it will decompose and seep organic material back into the surrounding desert for years to come.
“This is actually a great opportunity to educate the public about the importance of biodiversity and these wonderful saguaros and how they play a part in our whole big world.”