Influencers’ treasure hunt leads to damage of protected sand dune

DN7 aimed to promote their music festival with an advertised hunt for a asuitcase with $1,085 in it

Kaleigh Werner
New York
Tuesday 27 February 2024 19:24 GMT
Dozens of people have damaged the landscape of a protected sand dune in Spain
Dozens of people have damaged the landscape of a protected sand dune in Spain (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Dozens of people damaged the landscape of a protected sand dune in Spain after a promotional stunt encouraged them to search for a buried suitcase with $1,085 in it.

According to Business Insider, the organisers behind DN7 Festival, the Canary Islands music festival, have since been fined. In a video posted on 6 February, the organisers attempted to increase excitement surrounding the upcoming festival, hosted by San Bartolomé de Tirajana City Council, on 23 March inside Maspalomas stadium, a resort location on Gran Canaria.

“We have been given €1,000 for the promotion of the event, and instead of burning it in TV commercials we are going to hide them around the island,” they said in the Instagram video. “The first person to find it gets to keep it.”

Per an El País report, the Department of Environment, Climate, Energy, and Knowledge of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria has opened an investigation into the advertisement.

Videos and pictures shared online show people digging through the Maspalomas dunes, considered a natural reserve with immense ecological value, with hoes and shovels. The dunes have been a protected area since 1994. People are supposed to follow the directed routes when crossing them.

“The ecosystem of this space, warns the government of the Canary Islands, is extremely fragile, strongly threatened by intense human activity in the area,” El País noted.

The outlet quoted the executive of the government entity: “Going off the authorised roads causes damage to the environment and can also be dangerous.”

Since the investigation opened, the Cabildo de Gran Canaria has found no “serious effects on the ecosystem”.

Raúl García Brink, the island’s minister of the environment, proclaimed: “There has been no impact on either the vegetation or the fauna and with the wind that there has been during this weekend, the landscape damage has been restored.” That said, the organisers will be fined €600 ($651.20) for their infraction.

The Independent has contacted DN7 for a comment.

People online were frustrated by the lack of prosecution. One individual said: “Congratulations! They are going to act a day later despite having gone viral on networks and receiving dozens of calls denouncing.”

“Gentlemen, either get serious or we’re going to hell. Fixed security in the dunes. Penalty to anyone who goes off the path. Let the word spread,” another added.

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