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Grand Canyon National Park Asks Visitors To Stop Leaving Love Locks

California Condor is endangered by love locks left in Grand Canyon National Park
California condors in Grand Canyon endangered by love locks [Image Wikimedia Commons]
In recent years, love locks have become a popular phenomenon, with lovers locking padlocks on fences around the world. Often, like in Paris, they had to be banned for the damage they wrought. Surprisingly, the trend has also affected the Grand Canyon National Park in the US. This has led to park officials asking people to stop, as the locks and their keys become a health hazard for condors and other wildlife.

Grand Canyon says stop leaving love locks

Love locks have become popular with lovers as they leave an eternal sign of their love while visiting locations around the world. However, after travelers started leaving love locks on fencing in Grand Canyon National Park, officials are asking them to stop. In a Facebook post, the National Park Service warns that the growing trend endangers wildlife and particularly the condors in the park.

Do not leave love locks
[Image Grand Canyon National Park/Facebook]
According to the post, “Love is strong, but it is not as strong as our bolt cutters.” Officials noted that condors are curious creatures and love shiny things, “much like a small child.” This leads to them putting any shiny objects into their mouths, including discarded padlock keys.

The Facebook post continues:

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 [sic] 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.

About the Californian Condor

California condors
California Condors [Image by Bureau of Land Management/Flickr]
The Grand Canyon hosts the California condor, one of the rarest birds in the world. At one stage, the birds were almost extinct, and are still classified as endangered. Meanwhile, this condor species is the largest land bird in North America. The birds have a wingspan of up to 9½ feet and can weigh up to 23 pounds.

The NPS stated in 1982 that there were only 22 California condors living in the world. These days, there are almost 500 with more than 50 percent considered wild. At this time, there are three wild populations of the endangered condors. They can be seen in Arizona/Utah, California and in Baja California.

Despite their size, when a condor eats inanimate objects, like shiny coins or padlock keys, they may not be able to pass them on their own. This leads to the birds requiring surgery to remove the obstruction and the risk of death should they eat too many objects.

Officials in Grand Canyon National Park ask visitors to not leave love locks
Scan of a condor [Image Grand Canyon National Park/Facebook]
When visiting Grand Canyon National Park – and any other park for that matter, visitors must take care not to litter. Should they stop and have a picnic, they must pick up every piece of garbage resulting from their meal. Meanwhile, in the Grand Canyon, travelers must stop immortalizing their love, while endangering the magnificent condors.


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