Tourists were caught desecrating and snapping selfies with the carcass of a blue whale that washed ashore on the coast of Punta Delgada, Chile.
The authorities were shocked to discover a 66 metres long, beached blue whales along the coast of Punta Delgada, Chile, desecrated with graffiti and surrounded by dozens of tourists.
The members of the Chilean Navy, formed a perimeter around the whale Sunday as scientists, research. The whale is the official cause of death is not released yet, but scientists with Greenpeace Chile believe harmful algal blooms in the area can be accounted for.
A dead blue whale is not the only attraction – it is an endangered species loved by many, wildlife officials said after photos of the whale circulated online. Tourists have flocked to the whale over the weekend to snap selfies and “ride” the animal.
“The atrocious behavior displayed by these individuals is a sign of contempt and lack of respect of the real spiritual beings that ply our oceans,” Liz Lewis, director of field operations for Springcreek Conservation, an educational organization that financially supports the Museum of Natural History of the Rio Seco, in Chile, told Fox News.
Estefanía González, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace Chile, echoed Lewis.
“This is a senseless and shameful act,” González said in a statement to Fox News.
“It is important to know whether the whale died as a result of a harmful algal bloom, that is the most likely reason, by feeding on poisoned fish,” González explained. “It is a fact that the breeding of salmon, which are very present in the area, pollute the water with harmful nutrients, promote the development of the red tides, or harmful algal blooms.”
Lewis said that it is also possible that the animal died of starvation.
The locals took to social media to condemn the tourists’ “unacceptable” actions. A man, in particular, captured the internet’s attention.
Rodrigo Saavedra, who lives in Santiago, Chile, read about the incident in his local newspaper, and shared screenshots of photos of the paper is on the social media.
“I read about it, then it became viral and people started to show their dispute and their dissolution with the attitude of those who selfies with the body of the whale,” Saavedra told Fox News. “It was also rejected by the government.”
Photos Saavedra shared on Twitter showed cuts on the whale’s skin, the words, “Ana, I love you” carved into its body and two girls flashing peace signs while posing for photos at the top of her back. The tweet was shared by nearly 20,000 accounts and got thousands of responses.
Una ballena azul de 21 Mts varo en el sector de Punta Delgada, a 117 km Punta Arenas, el cetáceo estaba rayado con dedicatorias, cortes profundos en su piel y dos mujeres fotografiándose encima de su cuerpo #RespetoAnimal pic.twitter.com/l3GoWuSShq
— Rodrigo Saavedra (@rodrigo_sm) February 18, 2018
“How far will man go?” one Twitter user asked.
“If I were a beached whale, my natural reaction would be to cry for the animal,” another said. “I know that we are not all equal, not everything would have to grieve if I want to, but my first thought would not be to climb up, to pose, with a smile and let my name in his body.”
Lewis said that the goal of Springcreek Conservation is to educate and bring awareness to the crisis in the oceans today, and this incident proves that there is more work to be done.
“The largest mammal on the planet earth wash up and die…and desicrated is a message for all of us,” she said. “A lot of work is still needed in the education and awareness of our natural environment and all species that live within.”