An ecological park in southwest China has been stripped of its celebrated lotus flowers by tourists breaking into the attraction.
Longqiao Cultural and Ecological Park in Sichuan province’s Lu county has been forced to close for the rest of the year due to the actions of hundreds of tourists.
The park had been closed since late March for watercourse construction and was due to reopen soon, however that is no longer possible.
Well known for its endless fields of lotus flowers which cover around 250,000 square metres, the eco park has been stripped bare in recent weeks, the South China Morning Post reports.
Since the start of the summer blossom season last month, hundreds of people have been breaking into the park to pick the flowers, forcing park managers to keep it closed for the remainder of the year.
Zhou, a member of staff, said:
We cannot control the tourists. We can just guarantee we’ve done our job well. We’ve put notes on the park gate and near the flower field and we have security personnel on patrol as well.
Zhou added that despite the construction work in the park being nearly finished, there was no point in reopening because there were virtually no flowers left.
Approximately 200 to 300 people are still believed to be breaking into the park each day, forcing management to increase the number of security patrols.
A manager of the park said, as per Shanghaiist:
Our fence has been repaired for at least five times this year.
Photos and videos of people stealing the celebrated flowers have since gone viral on social media platforms such as Weibo, with many criticising the actions of the tourists.
While one person called for these ‘greedy people’ to face punishment, another wrote: ‘Even the highest fence cannot stop those without manners. It’s like you can never wake up a person that pretends to sleep.’
Longqiao Cultural and Ecological Park opened six years ago, and has since gained fame as a scenic spot in Lu county, attracting thousands of tourists from other provinces each year.
It’s not known how long the park will be closed for or when indeed it will be open to the public again, although it’s going to take some time to repair what has been taken.
It’s such a shame that the selfish actions of a few people have had such a detrimental impact on the beauty spot. Hopefully it will be back to full health soon.