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Selfies have a notorious reputation for making matters worse in the tourism world. One woman taking a selfie once knocked over paintings by Francisco Goya and Salvador Dali, and some people even got arrested for volcano selfies on Hawaii’s Big Island. Now, tourism groups on a an Australian island want travelers to stop taking selfies with its furry friends.
Maria Island, off the east coast of Tasmania, is a wild life sanctuary. There are no cars or shops, but the island is heavily populated with wombats, the cute marsupials native to Australia. These friendly creatures tend to end up in a lot of tourists’ selfies, and Tasmania tourism officials want to remind travelers that these animals are in fact wild, and you ought to leave them alone.
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“As a state, we do a lot of education through our national parks, but there are parts of Tasmania where the animals are not as approachable,” John Fitzgerald, the CEO of Tasmania Tourism, told CNN Travel. “We’re asking people to respect the fact that they’re wild animals and respect them for what they are.”
To do that, travelers will be asked to sign a pledge saying they will respect and protect the island’s wildlife and nature.
The Maria Island pledge states:
Wombats, when you trundle past me I pledge I will not chase you with my selfie stick, or get too close to your babies. I will not surround you, or try and pick you up. I will make sure I don’t leave rubbish or food from my morning tea. I pledge to let you stay wild.
I vow to explore with a sense of responsibility, adventure and kindness. I will leave your wild island as I found it, and take home memories filled with beauty and my soul filled up with wonder.
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