The Canary Islands became very famous for their stone beaches like Playa Jardin near Puerto Santa Cruz and El Beril on Tenerife. However, a trend of tourists stacking stones now threatens the beaches. The stone towers are a nice photo scene for Instagram, but has grown uncontrollable all over the famous beaches. Therefore, what used to be a “relax” and “inner peace” activity, has developed blazingly fast into a huge danger for local flora and fauna. Further, the popular activity is even listed on Google Maps, which further worries the inhabitants.
Please also read: What does tourism do for wildlife conservation?
Stop killing beach inhabitants
When tourists stack stone by stone to find their inner peace, the biologist Pedro Luis Sánchez is on the alert. He is aware of the local flora and fauna that will become homeless and he is concerned about the insects and reptiles who will starve because of a gap in the food chain.
“The stones provide a home for living beings, such as plants, that are essential for the health of the soil and are needed for insects to thrive. They in turn provide food for reptiles who live under these rocks. When we pile up the rocks, we take away their home.”
Local organisations will work with the council and the Tenerife government to formulate a public awareness campaign through a local magazine. The goal is to raise awareness for wildlife on beaches through posters. But this is not the only measure. This year, a local team of 150 volunteers carefully took apart every tower within half an hour. Just to find new stacked towers on the following day. Jaime Coello, director of the Fundación Telesforo Bravo-Juan Coello, called for legislation to punish and therefore stop the degenerative stacking as soon as possible.
Also mountains are affected
The same stone towers, so called “cairns”, are archaic symbols to mark hiking trails in the mountains of the Alps. It is useful for warning hikers of sudden drops and to mark the summit of a mountain. Unfortunately, the mountains are not spared of the trend, as people have started to build not only one cairn next to the trails, but hundreds. This can lead to several problems like erosion, animal habitat damage and confused hikers. So let us stop the trend because we already have an impact with every step we make. Let us start to respect nature!