Miley Cyrus criticized for posing on protected Joshua trees
Singer Miley Cyrus is being criticized by fans and wildlife officials for snapping pictures while climbing on a Joshua tree, a species threatened by climate change and at risk for extinction.
The pop star on Tuesday posted photos showing her sitting on a Joshua tree and holding onto its branches, the Palm Springs Desert Sun reported.
“Hiding from all the petty drama like….,” Cyrus wrote in a caption on one post on Twitter.
Hiding from all the petty drama like…. pic.twitter.com/GrwvL7R04t
— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) April 2, 2019
The iconic trees have been threatened by climate change and scientists have found them gradually dying out, the newspaper noted. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently reviewing the Joshua tree for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
It’s unclear where Cyrus took the photos, but the trees are protected in national parks and under California state law and several other city and county ordinances.
Geary Hund, the executive director for the Mojave Desert Land Trust, warned that Joshua trees have shallow root systems that can be easily damaged by additional weight.
“We ask that Miley Cyrus consider her status as a public figure and remove this photo from her social media accounts in order to educate others and to prevent potential damage to Joshua trees,” Hund wrote in a statement.
Joshua Tree National Park spokesman George Land told the newspaper that Cyrus has been known to visit the park.
“While we would appreciate it that people would respect the fact that desert vegetation is a little bit fragile at times, we don’t want to incite people to carry out some kind of threat against Miley Cyrus, or anybody else that would do that,” Land continued. “We would just remind her that she has a big following, people watch what she does, and it would be greatly appreciated by the Park Service and the people around the area if she would maybe curb that type of activity, especially posting it on her social media page.”
The National Park Service prohibits people from attaching hammocks, slack lines or other ropes between the trees.
Representatives for Cyrus did not immediately return the newspaper’s request for comment.
The backlash from the singer’s posts comes after Joshua trees were damaged by vandals during the partial government shutdown earlier this year.
A protected tree was chopped down by vandals, sparking widespread criticism.
Joshua Tree was one of many national parks that experienced high levels of trash, overflowing bathrooms and habitat damage during the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history. Most park rangers were sent home, but visitors were allowed to roam the park. The 790,636-acre park was temporarily closed so officials could assess the damage earlier this year.