The National Parks Service is asking tourists to the Grand Canyon to stop leaving "love locks" on its gates and fences. The NPS demands people stop throwing the keys over the side of the canyon because animals, like the condor, love bright and shiny things to death. Literally.
Love is strong, but it is not as strong as our bolt cutters.
Padlocks left behind on fencing are called Love Locks. People think putting a lock on fencing at viewpoints is a great way to show love for another person. It's not. Leaving pad locks like this is littering and a form of graffiti. But because people will throw their padlock key into the canyon the scenario becomes worse and more dangerous specifically for a rare and endangered animal of the canyon.
Condors are curious animals and much like a small child will investigate strange things they come across with their mouths. Condors love shiny things. They will spot a coin, a wrapper, or a shiny piece of metal, like a key from a padlock that has been tossed into the canyon and eat it. Condors are not meant to digest metal and many times cannot pass these objects. The X-ray image on this post is of the crop of a condor. You can see coins lodged in the digestive tract of the bird. This bird had to be operated on to clear the obstructions. If a condor ingests too many objects like this, it could die.
Objects are thrown from the rim every day. Padlocks and trash are not anomalies limited to Grand Canyon. Do your part to not contribute to these bad habits and inform others of what can happen to the wildlife if these behaviors continue.
Images: NPS Photos / D. Pawlak via Facebook
Featured Image: gd_project/shutterstock.com