Always stick to the trails when hiking in a wildlife preserve


Wandering into areas in a forest reserve or national park better left unexplored by humans, can potentially endanger wildlife. — Pixabay

If you saw some rubbish left in a wildlife preserve, would you pick it up? If it means straying from the path of a natural park, then environmentalists in Germany are asking you not to.

The well-meant act of picking up plastic rubbish in nature preserves, and thereby wandering into areas better left untouched by humans, can potentially endanger wildlife, an environmentalist group says.

“Many people see rubbish and then leave the paths and go into nature reserves where birds are breeding,” said Swaantje Fock of the Wittbülten National Park House on the North Sea island of Spiekeroog.

“It’s great that people’s awareness is growing and they want to do something, but bird protection comes first there.”

Instead, holidaymakers should stick to the paths in the region, said the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU).

“The rule of thumb is: always pick up litter where I am, but please don’t go anywhere else,” said Stefanie Eilers, first chairwoman of NABU Wilhelmshaven. “If you see rubbish in nature reserves, you should contact the city’s nature conservation associations.”

“We have known for 20 years that plastic waste accumulates massively on seas and beaches. But now for a few years it really can’t be overlooked, especially for tourists,” said Manfred Santen from the environmental organisation Greenpeace.

Globally, between 4.8 and 12.7 million tons of plastic waste end up in the oceans every year, according to scientists’ estimates. That would be about one truck load per minute. – dpa

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