Thieving flower tourists force park to shut down for the year
An ecological park in southwest China has been forced to close after tourists pick most its famed lotus flowers.
LU COUNTY / CHINA — A park in southwest China has closed for the rest of 2019 after tourists plucked its famed lotus flowers, reports the South China Morning Post.
The sprawling fields of flowers at Longqiao Cultural and Ecological Park cover around 250,000 square metres or 62 acres – an area about the size of New York's Grand Central Terminal.
Since late March, the park has been closed and fenced off for construction and was due to reopen soon.
But since the start of summer suspected visiting tourists are breaking into the park and ripping the flowers from their roots.
Pictures from Red Star News show individuals trudging into the muddy waters and coming out stocking bunches of the long-stemmed, and now pillaged flowers.
A member of staff surnamed Zhou told Red Star News, "We cannot control the tourists - We've put notes on the park gate and near the flower field and we have security personnel on patrol as well."
Zhou continued, saying that the construction work in the park was near complete but that there was little point in reopening because there were virtually no flowers left to see.
It is estimated that between 200 to 300 people may still be breaking into the park on a daily basis.
Zhou said, "We've already repaired the fencing five times this year."
The park's management said it has stepped up its number of security personnel in response to the threat.
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