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It might seem like a wholesome romantic gesture to use the Grand Canyon National Park as a place to declare your love but rangers are urging visitors to stop leaving “love locks” at the park as the practice endangers birds.

Here’s why its a problem: people will take a padlock and write their initials on it before locking to fencing at the top of the canyon and then throw the keys over the edge as a sign of the never ending love and devotion. Problem is local condors are attracted to shiny objects and end up eating the keys leading to heath problems.

If the welfare of condors isn’t enough to dissuade you from hucking keys into the Grand Canyon, maybe the penalty for tossing items into the canyon is (max fine $5,000/six months in prison).

Here’s the official word from The Grand Canyon National Park:

Love is strong, but it is not as strong as our bolt cutters.

Padlocks left behind on fencing are called Love Locks. People think putting a lock on fencing at viewpoints is a great way to show love for another person. It’s not. Leaving pad locks like this is littering and a form of graffiti. But because people will throw their padlock key into the canyon the scenario becomes worse and more dangerous specifically for a rare and endangered animal of the canyon.

Condors are curious animals and much like a small child will investigate strange things they come across with their mouths. Condors love shiny things. They will spot a coin, a wrapper, or a shiny piece of metal, like a key from a padlock that has been tossed into the canyon and eat it. Condors are not meant to digest metal and many times cannot pass these objects. The X-ray image on this post is of the crop of a condor. You can see coins lodged in the digestive tract of the bird. This bird had to be operated on to clear the obstructions. If a condor ingests too many objects like this, it could die.

Objects are thrown from the rim every day. Padlocks and trash are not anomalies limited to Grand Canyon. Do your part to not contribute to these bad habits and inform others of what can happen to the wildlife if these behaviors continue.

RELATED: Idiot Tourist Nearly Crashes Helicopter Over Grand Canyon

Images from GrandCanyonNationalPark Facebook

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