Outrage as 'processional caterpillars' flock to scale Ayers Rock before ban

Photographs have surfaced on social media of climbers flocking to climb the sacred indigenous Uluru, or 'Ayers Rock' in Australia, sparking controversy.

Outrage as 'processional caterpillars' flock to scale Ayers Rock before ban

Photographs have surfaced on social media of climbers flocking to scale the sacred indigenous Uluru, or 'Ayers Rock' in Australia, sparking controversy.

Pictures show a congested stream of people snaking up the rock which has drawn comparison to that of the recent pictures of Mount Everest.

The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park voted in 2017 to end the climb due to the spiritual significance of the site to the indigenous population.

The local Anangu do not climb the rock because of its spiritual and cultural significance.

The ban will come in to effect this October, and as a result, the site has seen an influx of tourists desperate to climb the rock before it's too late.

The queue at Mount Everest earlier this year. Picture: PA.
The queue at Mount Everest earlier this year. Picture: PA.

Marriage celebrant Meredith Cambell told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation she had never witnessed scenes like it before at the site, saying "they were just like processional caterpillars, caravan after caravan, arriving, arriving,arriving."

She also described overflowing bins at the scene.

Meanwhile station owner Lyndee Severin told ABC that people were illegally camping, lighting fires and dumping human waste and rubbish in the area.

Speaking about the ban, board director and Uluru traditional owner Sammy Wilson said the decision was one to feel proud about: “The land has law and culture. We welcome tourists here. Closing the climb is not something to feel upset about but a cause for celebration. Let’s come together; let’s close it together.

“If I travel to another country and there is a sacred site, an area of restricted access, I don’t enter or climb it, I respect it. It is the same here for Anangu. We welcome tourists here. We are not stopping tourism, just this activity."

Uluru lies 335km south west of Alice Springs and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since being listed, the site's annual visitors has risen to more than 400,000.

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