Gran Canaria giant lizards are choking on cruisers’ condoms. (YouTube/ Jeremiusz Trzaska)
The Maspalomas sand dunes in Gran Canaria are a popular cruising hotspot, but the public, sandy sex is putting giant lizards at risk.
According to the gay travel site GayMapper, Maspalomas Dunes are a popular spot of cruising. The site explains: “There is no particular focal point for cruising, but you’ll find many people sunbathing and waiting in the bushy areas.
“Get there by entering the dunes using the path next to the Riu Palace in Playa del Ingles, then just follow the trail of guys to wherever you feel like laying your towel. Cruising anytime between sunrise and sunset.”
But scientists are begging straight swingers and gay cruisers alike to change their sex habits in the dunes to protect the local wildlife.
A study, published in the January 2022 issue of the Journal of Environmental Management and titled, “Sand, Sun, Sea and Sex with Strangers, the ‘five S’s’”, found that Gran Canaria giant lizards have been choking on discarded condoms in the Grand Canaria dunes, and that the dunes themselves are suffering “significant degradation”.
In a piece for The Conversation, the study’s co-author Patrick Hesp explained: “What’s fun for humans can be bad for wildlife… These semi-vegetated and mobile dunes are one of the most popular sightseeing spots on Gran Canaria island, and are legally protected as a nature reserve. Unfortunately, they are being loved to death.”
Researchers studied “almost 300 sex spots across the vegetated section of these dunes”, and found that 10 different plant species were being impacted, and that some of the rare lizards, which exist only in the Canary Islands, had “died after eating condoms left behind by pleasure seekers”
Hesp made sure to clarify: “We’re not calling for an end to public sex – but we do want people to be aware of the damage it can do.”
The research, an expert on coastal dune geomorphology, encouraged cruisers to stop dropping cigarette butts and condoms, to cease the “removal of vegetation to make ‘nests’, sites for sex”, and to be careful not to trample vegetation.
He added: “Encouragingly, some resort owners are discussing the impact of cruising with their guests.”