These days a few dollars is all you need to get personal with nature, but that new intimacy often comes at tremendous cost to the nature we’re supposed to revere. This weekend, hundreds of tourists were unleashed on female Costa Rican sea turtles who were attempting to climb the beach to lay their eggs. The tourists, most brought by paid tour guides to watch the miracle unfold, swarmed a national wildlife preserve in Canton Santa Cruz. Instead of allowing the turtles to complete their migration, the Green Prophet reports, the tourists poured onto the beach, more interested in getting bikini selfies than watching nature at its most magnificent.
The mob crowded the beach, disrupting protected habitat, trampling vulnerable nests and thwarting the sea turtles progress across the beach. People waded into the water alongside the turtles, others petted them and several parents even placed children on the pregnant turtles’ backs, passing their disregard for nature along to the next generation.
Related: Sea turtles face growing danger due to plastic trash in Australian waters
Unfortunately, according to Marine conservationist Jonathon Miller-Weisberger of the Guaria de Osa eco-lodge, this is just an extreme example of a reoccurring problem. It’s not just sea turtles who are the victims. Wild animals have been turned into commercial enterprise the world over. We swim with dolphins, pull the tails of drugged tigers, joy ride on the backs of elephants, and go hunting for lion trophies to hang on our walls. By giving anyone with a few dollars easy access to wild creatures, are we destroying our reverence for them. Have we turned wild animals into just another commodity, an amusement park filled with living, breathing, endangered creatures?
Via Green Prophet
Lead image via Claudio Giovenzana, tourist images via SITRAMINAE