SYDNEY — Tourists are defecating on Australia’s sacred Uluru, or Ayers Rock, a newspaper report said on Tuesday, amid calls for a climbing ban on the iconic desert attraction.
Tour operator Andrew Simpson said visitors were often caught short on the long climb up the red monolith, which holds deep religious significance for Australia’s Aboriginal community.
“When people climb up the top of the rock there’s no toilet facilities up there,” Simpson told the Northern Territory News.
“Most of them have a toilet roll tucked away. They’re s******g on a sacred site,” he added.
His claims were submitted to a draft management plan, which includes a proposed climbing ban, the newspaper reported.
Simpson’s Anangu Waai company operates driving tours around the rock, located in the centre of the country, the newspaper added.
Park officials in July announced plans to end the popular climb on cultural and safety grounds, a stance endorsed by Peter Garrett, Australia’s environment minister and former frontman of rock band Midnight Oil.
But Prime Minister Kevin Rudd later said it would be “very sad” if tourists were kept off the rock, which was handed back to Aborigines in 1985 and attracts about 350,000 visitors a year.