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‘Love is Strong, But it is Not as Strong as Our Bolt Cutters’: Grand Canyon Park Rangers

Have you heard of love locks?

It’s a tradition where couples place a padlock on a fence near a viewpoint to express their love. The trend has been popular for years, with some well-known locations like the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, France. However, Park Rangers in Grand Canyon National Park are asking visitors to stop.

Grand Canyon officials recently posted to Facebook about their stance against the locks and a reminder that “Love is strong, but it is not as strong as our bolt cutters.” The post claims that leaving the locks at viewpoints is littering and considered graffiti. Making things worse, the parks says that people are also often throwing the key to the lock into the canyon, endangering wildlife.

The main concern from discarded shiny objects like keys is the condor, a critically endangered species. Unfortunately, the animal likes to investigate shiny things by putting them in its mouth, leading the bird to eat coins, wrappers and other metals. 

condor x-ray
An X-ray of a condor with coins stuck inside its digestive tract. (Source: NPS)

This habit is a problem for the bird, and an X-ray shared by the National Park Service shows an example of several coins lodged in a condor’s digestive tract. Fortunately, wildlife officials could operate on this bird, but other animals aren’t always so lucky.

“Objects are thrown from the rim every day. Padlocks and trash are not anomalies limited to the Grand Canyon,” wrote Grand Canyon officials in their post. “Do your part to not contribute to these bad habits and inform others of what can happen to the wildlife if these behaviors continue.”

Learn more from Grand Canyon officials about proper etiquette when visiting our national parks.

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