Maria Island, just off the eastern coast of Tasmania, Australia, is home to a large number of wombats — marsupials known for their resemblance to teddy bears.
It turns out that their cute faces, coupled with docile personalities, have made them the must-have selfie accessory for visitors to the island.
Visitors to Maria Island, which has no permanent human residents apart from park rangers, will now be greeted with signs encouraging them to pledge to be a respectful traveller, CNN reported.
According to CNN, the Maria Island Pledge reads, “I take this pledge to respect and protect the furred and feathered residents of Maria. I will remember you are wild and pledge to keep you this way. I promise I will respectfully enjoy the wonders of your beautiful island home, from the wharf to the Painted Cliffs, to the Rocky bluffs, haunted bays and mystery of Maria’s ruins.”
The pledge further reads, “Wombats, when you trundle past me I pledge I will not chase you with my selfie stick, or get too close to your babies. I will not surround you, or try and pick you up. I will make sure I don’t leave rubbish or food from my morning tea. I pledge to let you stay wild. I vow to explore with a sense of responsibility, adventure and kindness. I will leave your wild island as I found it, and take home memories filled with beauty and my soul filled up with wonder.”
Talking to the news organisation John Fitzgeral, the CEO of Tasmania Tourism said that as a state, they do a lot of education through their national parks, but there are parts of Tasmania where the animals are not as approachable. He added, “We’re asking people to respect the fact that they’re wild animals and respect them for what they are.”
Fitzgerald notes that the pledge has been added to get people into a respectful mindset adding that there was no particular incident that occurred that prompted them towards the move.
Maria Island is a national park, meaning there are strict regulations to protect its natural beauty.
In addition to wombats, the island is home to the ruins of one of Australia’s first penal colonies as well.