We’ve all done it in nature. Whether it be at the beach, by a river or on a mountain top. We didn’t realise it was potentially ruining lives. We were just trying to have a bit of fun. Sometimes we even posted the end result to social media. But now ecologists are asking us to stop. Stop stacking rocks. 

Ecologists and environmentalists have warned that the pastime of stacking rocks in nature to make sculptures, is destroying habitats and threatening native animals. 

Rock stacking has become a worldwide trend, with over 70,000 posts under the #rockstacking hashtag on Instagram, proudly displaying rock sculptures in scenic locations around the globe. And we won’t lie, some of these are damn impressive.

 

 

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But senior ecologist at the Victorian Government’s Arthur Rylah Institute, Nick Clemann, spoke to the ABC about the unseen repercussions of rock stacking. Many small creatures and insects rely entirely on a rocky habitat for shelter and safety from predators. Any disturbance of that habitat could push those species away. 

‘Some of the endangered species we work on occur in tiny colonies in little rock outcrops, and a bit of stacking in that area can rapidly mean that colony is no longer viable,’ Clemann said when talking to the ABC

 

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Mr Clemann acknowledges that people who rock stack are not intentionally causing harm, in fact they’re often outdoors enjoying nature. Clemann says that if these people knew of the damage the seemingly innocent pastime may be causing, they wouldn’t do it. 

‘Even if the rocks are put back, even if you are quite diligent in replacing them, the seal is kind of broken and predators like snakes, for example, can get in access animals trying to shelter there,’ Clemann said. 

There are whopping fines in Victoria, of up $8000 for damaging, destroying or disturbing a wildlife habitat. A similar law in NSW could see perpetrators gaoled for up to two years. 

What’s that old saying again? Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos. Maybe it’s time we went back to that. 

 

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Feature photo by Markus Spiske, from Unsplash