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‘Love locks’ over Grand Canyon are harming national park’s wildlife, rangers say

While love is strong, it’s not as strong as bolt cutters, park rangers warn.

Over the years, Grand Canyon National Park visitors have been observed throwing various objects from the rim, including coins and keys from padlocks left behind as “love locks” on the fencing.

Park officials say such actions can pose a severe threat to the wildlife ecosystem of the park.

“People think putting a lock on fencing at viewpoints is a great way to show love for another person. It’s not,” park rangers said in a post on social media. “Leaving padlocks like this is littering and a form of graffiti.”

The scenario worsens for rare and endangered animals in the park, such as condors.

“Condors are curious animals and, much like a small child, will investigate strange things they come across with their mouths,” they added.

The largest flying land birds in the Western Hemisphere also have an affinity for shiny objects, such as coins, metal keys and wrappers, which they could ingest if found in the canyon.

“Condors are not meant to digest metal and many times cannot pass these objects,” parks rangers said.

An X-ray image below shows the throat of a condor with coins lodged in the bird’s digestive tract.

“This bird had to be operated on to clear the obstructions,” rangers added. “If a condor ingests too many objects like this, it could die.”

Authorities are urging visitors to take responsibility for their actions and educate others about the consequences of their behavior to preserve the park’s beauty and integrity.

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