Top 10 Natural Wonders Ruined by Morons



Top 10 Natural Wonders Ruined by Morons

VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb WRITTEN BY: Whitney Wilson
Some of these incredible sights have been completely destroyed by people's actions. For this list, we'll be looking at famous sites that have been negatively impacted by humans doing something directly to them. Our countdown includes Devils Hole Pupfish, Isla de Sa Porrassa, Utah's Goblin Hoodoos, and more!

top 10 natural wonders ruined by morons

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 natural wonders ruined by morons.

For this list, we’ll be looking at famous sites that have been negatively impacted by humans doing something directly to them. A few have even been completely destroyed by people’s ridiculous actions.

What’s the worst story of tourist negligence or vandalism you’ve heard? Be sure to share with us in the comments below.

#10: Devils Hole Pupfish

United States

A critically endangered species of pupfish only lives in Devils Hole in Nevada. They’re so valued as unique that they spawned “Save the Pupfish” bumper stickers in the 1960s and 70s. This led the US government to spend millions of dollars to preserve them. In April 2016, three men broke into the secured area around Devils Hole. They destroyed surveillance cameras, and one man even jumped into the hole, smashing pupfish eggs during their peak spawning season. The vandalism led to the death of one of the valued pupfish, lowering that spring’s population from 115 to 114. Ultimately, the vandals were charged with violating the Endangered Species Act, and security around the pupfish habitat was further heightened.

#9: Uluru & Its Rare Shrimp


Uluru is an iconic monolith that stands as one of the most recognizable aspects of Australian geography and as a sacred landmark to the Aboriginal people of the area. When tourists began flocking to the area in the 1930s, some of them made a huge negative environmental impact. Visitors climbed the sacred sandstone rock against the wishes of the local Aṉangu and even relieved themselves on the site By the 1970s, human waste was blamed for eliminating a rare species of shrimp that lived exclusively on what’s also known as Ayers Rock. Over the years, there were even more incidents of tourist indecency, including a woman removing much of her clothing upon reaching the top of Uluru. In 2019, a ban on climbing Uluru finally went into effect to help preserve the site.

#8: Paracel Archipelago

South China Sea

Also known as the Xisha Islands, the Paracel Archipelago are in a disputed area in the South China Sea. Their stunningly clear waters are home to many rare sea creatures and colorful coral reefs. When the islands were opened up to tourism and cruises in 2013, the wildlife immediately suffered. Tourists plucked ocean animals from their homes, including lobsters and rare endangered giant clams, and ate them. They even broke off pieces of coral to take home as souvenirs. While many of these actions are illegal, that didn’t prevent ignorant tourists from posting about their crimes on social media.

#7: Racetrack Playa

United States

Despite its name, this gorgeous dry lake in Death Valley is not designed for high-speed vehicles. Its name comes from the mysterious sailing stones that leave behind noticeable trails across the level, pristine surface. Racetrack Playa’s beautiful and unusual landscape was vandalized in 2016 when a driver tore through the fragile area and left behind 10 miles of ruts. The driver spun all over the dry lake, cutting swerves and donuts all over the ground. This blatant act of vandalism caused significant, noticeable and long-lasting damage to the picturesque surface crust of Racetrack Playa.

#6: Isla de Sa Porrassa


While the beautiful Isla de Sa Porrassa is uninhabited, tourists still frequent it while vacationing in the area. In fact, some holidaymakers have made it a rite of passage to try to make it to the island while under the influence, despite police warnings. In 2015, two teenagers were exploring the island. In a grand and stupid move, they dropped a lit cigarette. It caused an enormous blaze across the island. The fire tore through several acres and required two helicopters carrying water to douse the flames. Although the incident was treated as an accident, it does serve as a testament to the foolishness of some tourists.

#5: Cliffs of Moher


The world-famous Cliffs of Moher are among Europe’s most stunning natural wonders and are gorgeous on their own. However, in 2013, a group of artists apparently thought they could one-up one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful pieces of art by adding onto it. Much to the dismay of geologists, they graffitied the highest point of the cliffs. As if it were not obvious enough that these vandals were not the brightest stars in the sky, they recorded themselves in the act. They also graffitied several other sites and posted every act of vandalism on their social media before deactivating their accounts.

#4: Duckbill

United States

Oregon's Duckbill was a unique sandstone hoodoo that was iconic on the titular state’s coast and attracted many tourists every single year. The Duckbill survived decades of winds and tides from the Pacific to serve as a scenic spot for visitors. It could not, however, survive a group of teenage vandals. They toppled the one-of-a-kind hoodoo after their friend allegedly broke a leg on the rock formation. The group claimed they were performing a service to the public, despite several warning signs and the area around the Duckbill being surrounded by a fence. Although the vandals were filmed in the act, they were never caught.

#3: The Tree of Ténéré


Once deemed the globe’s most isolated tree, this acacia was thought to be the only tree for more than 250 miles. It was considered an iconic part of Niger’s landscape, especially recognized as a landmark on caravan routes through that area of the Sahara Desert. And it even was included on maps. Despite being the only obstacle for literally miles, even this isolated tree could not escape unscathed from ridiculous human behavior. In 1973, the tree was inexplicably hit by a truck driver. Their actions removed an important feature from Niger’s landscape. While a memorial sculpture now stands in its place, the tree can never truly be replaced.

#2: Utah's Goblin Hoodoos

United States

Camping among centuries of geological history seems like a dream come true. But that dream can come crashing down, literally, when morons get involved. One of Utah’s most memorable geographic features are its ancient and giant mushroom-like hoodoos. In 2013, a Boy Scout troop was visiting the magical and hoodoo-filled Goblin Valley State Park. According to the troop leaders, however, there were goblin hoodoos that seemed too dangerous. Fearing that one of them could crush someone, the troop leaders toppled the supposedly threatening ancient formation. They could’ve easily just reported the potential danger and stayed away from it. Instead, they filmed and posted their destructive behavior and then were subsequently removed from their leadership roles. Too bad restoring the goblin hoodoos isn’t that easy.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few idiotic honorable mentions.

Property Developers & Politicians Turn the Beautiful Boeung Kak Lake Into a Puddle

Irresponsible Tourists Burn Down More Than 14,000 Acres of the Stunning Torres Del Paine

Newcomers Threaten the Unique Galapagos Islands Ecosystem by Introducing Invasive Species

Tourists Cause Big Major Cay Pigs to Die by Feeding Them Inappropriate Food & Rum, As Well as Throwing Said Food on the Sand (Which Can’t Be Digested)

A Truck Driver Runs Over & Defaces the Prized 2,000-Year-Old Nazca Lines

#1: Raja Ampat Reefs

New Guinea, Indonesia

The incredible Raja Ampat reefs, sometimes called the Underwater Amazon, are among the most important ecosystems in the world because they contain the most marine life diversity on Earth. Because of their beauty and amazing coral reef biodiversity, they attract quite a few visitors that unfortunately, included one particularly destructive cruise ship. The ship ran aground at low tide and caused irreversible damage to the important ecosystem. Over 17 000 square feet of the reef were damaged. The damage was determined to be worth nearly $19 million, and recovery will take decades. With the worldwide decline of coral reefs, this was considered a huge global blow to marine wildlife.