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Grand Canyon issues warning about ‘love locks’

By Lilit Marcus, CNN

(CNN) — “Love is strong, but our bolt cutters are stronger,” reads a new Facebook post from Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

In the post shared on social media earlier this week, the park management expresses concern about ‘love locks.’ These popular objects are padlocks that are hung from a metal fence, often bearing a couple’s name or initials, with the key then thrown into a nearby body of water.

Many people believe that the locks are good luck for a relationship, and that throwing away the key symbolizes an unbroken love.

However, while the locks themselves are considered “littering” and “graffiti” in the park, it’s the keys that can cause even more serious problems.

The critically endangered California condor is attracted to shiny things, and as a result some of the birds have eaten keys out of the water and required surgery to remove them.

“Condors are curious animals and much like a small child will investigate strange things they come across with their mouths,” reads the post. “Condors are not meant to digest metal and many times cannot pass these objects. If a condor ingests too many objects like this, it could die.”

Love locks have become a problem in other destinations as well, most notably at Paris’ Pont des Arts, where the locks had become so heavy they were damaging the structural integrity of the bridge.

When the city of Paris removed the locks in 2015, the weight of the 700,000 metal objects was the equivalent of 20 elephants.

Once they were all removed, the city put glass partitions up on the bridge to prevent anyone from adding new locks.

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