PALM SPRINGS (AP) – A parcel of land that is prime habitat for the so-called teddy bear cactus has been purchased for a Mojave Desert conservation organization.

The Desert Sun newspaper reports an anonymous donor purchased the 599 acres (242 hectares) of Southern California land for $140,000 and deeded it to the Mojave Desert Land Trust to be protected from mining or other destructive activities.

The cactus is formally called the cholla (CHOY-ah) but earned its cuddly nickname because dense covering of spines resembles the limbs of a teddy bear.

The land will provide a buffer between Interstate 40 and the Bigelow Cholla Wilderness Garden in Mojave Trails National Monument.

The land was purchased from Las Vegas school teacher Roger Becker, whose mother had invested in a gas station project that was never built.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.

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