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PHOTO: Seattle Parks and Recreation

Police and parks officials are looking for leads on the vandalism of several trees at the Washington Park Arboretum.

According to the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, unknown persons slashed and destroyed some trees in the park’s “Gateway to Chile” project.

The vandals, apparently wielding a hatchet or machete,  hacked off parts of three Chilean wine palms, two monkey puzzle trees, and three Gunnera Tinctoria. The damage, discovered Wednesday by a gardener, was estimated at nearly $43,000.

The damage is similar to another incident last year.

Anyone with information about the crime is urged by parks officials¬† to call the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct at 206-684-4300.

For more information on the Arboretum and the Gateway to Chile Project, part of the Pacific Connections garden, visit the University of Washington Botanic Gardens web site.