There’s a big debate going on in Australia at the moment over the future of Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) and some interesting issues coming to light as a result
Uluru is a sandstone formation standing 348 m (1,142 ft) high and measures 9.4 km (5.8 mi) in circumference. It’s located pretty much smack bang in the middle of Australia in an area that is for the most part flat, making it an even more impressive geological feature.
Uluru is a huge tourist attraction for this country – but also a sacred place for our indigenous peoples and the area hosts its own rather unique ecosystem.
For years folks have been climbing Uluru and its always something I’ve wanted to do myself. However, it seems that not all the visitors to the area have been treating it with the respect it deserves – with some people defecating and urinating at the summit. There are now calls to ban climbing on Uluru.
Aside from being unsightly, smelly and disrespectful to the traditional owners; the impact on the very local environment may have sent a species into extinction.
Retired university professor Brian Timms says people relieving themselves on top of Uluru may have killed off a rare species of shrimp through contamination rock pools. The Latzi shrimp species has not been found in collections since about the 1970s – around the time when tourist visitations really started to swell.
I’ll likely never get a chance to climb Uluru, but I’d much rather see the ban in place and to have (what’s left) of this unique area preserved.
Many of us don’t really stop and think about how our actions can affect wild places. A whizz here, a dropped bit of paper or plastic there may not have too big an impact on its own, but when a stack of people do it, the results can be disastrous. So many places have unique ecosystems with creatures not found anywhere else on the planet; hence the saying “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints”… and watch where you step.