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Influencers receive massive fines for taking 'disrespectful' selfies at sacred site

Influencers receive massive fines for taking 'disrespectful' selfies at sacred site

Carnarvon National Park in Queensland, Australia, is home to some incredible Indigenous rock art, but people have been straying for selfies

A number of people trying to seem like influencers have been slapped with large fines for entering forbidden areas of an Australian national park and posing with sacred Indigenous artworks.

The government organisation responsible for looking after these sites has slammed the ‘self-indulgent’ selfie-takers and said that it will make ‘no apology’ for fining them hundreds of dollars for straying from the allowed routes.

In blurred photos released by the Aussie Department of Environment (DES), people can be seen touching the fragile rock art with their hands, as well as posing sitting in front of the art in restricted areas.

Some of these paintings have been there for thousands of years, long before Australia was colonised a few hundred years ago.

In the last 12 months, six people have been fined AU $341 (£180) after posting pictures of themselves touching the rock face in protected areas of Carnarvon National Park in Queensland’s central highlands.

A further 18 people were fined for camping or committing fire offences in areas that are off-limits.

One person was fined for this selfie.

There are boardwalks to stay on that allow people to see the precious historical art, and it is prohibited to get off that, even if you do see it as a fantastic selfie opportunity.

The ochre stencil art in the area – according to Ranger Luke Male – is ‘unique, diverse, highly complex, and spectacular’.

He said that they’ve certainly no qualms about slapping big fines onto people who threaten that history.

“The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) makes no apology for taking compliance action against people who break the rules because they believe they are influencers,” he added.

In one photo, a woman can be seen almost leaning on the art to get a photo.

She then posted it on Instagram, after which a review determined that she should be fined.

Another shot shows a young boy sitting on a rock in front of the artwork.

His parents were fined.

Of course, this area means a lot to the local Indigenous people, who have accused the tourists of showing ‘utmost disrespect’.

Bidjara representative Leah Wyman said that as well as the history of the sites, there is a sacred nature to these places too.

Trespassing onto the Indigenous sites shows 'utmost disrespect', according to Indigenous representatives.

She explained: “They are also important spiritual and ceremonial sites to us, and it is imperative that everyone stays on the walkways.”

Wyman said it would be a ‘great shame’ if the sites had to be closed to protect them, as has happened in some other places.

“Getting off the boardwalks and walking around is of the utmost disrespect, and is comparable to attending someone’s funeral and walking on their coffin,” she said.

Featured Image Credit: Department of Environment

Topics: Australia, Art, Crime, Money, History