Fans and conservationists alike are slamming Miley Cyrus after she posed on a Joshua tree. The singer posted several photos on her Instagram page showing her hanging out in the iconic, rare — and fragile — trees, according to Cosmopolitan.
The comments on the photos blew up after she posted them, with people calling for Cyrus to take the photos down because they may encourage others to climb the trees. None of the photos specify where she was during the photo shoot, but many are speculating that it could be at the Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California.
Joshua trees are endangered and considered a protected species in California. They also have a shallow root structure, which makes them less able to handle additional weight, say, from a human climbing them.
“Omg please stop posting these! Joshua trees are delicate, endangered and protected by state law! They are not for climbing,” said one person.
“Please stop posting these, all you are communicating is that your vanity is more important than the fragile ecosystem you are using as a backdrop,” said another.
“@mileycyrus please remove these photos. I am certain you meant no harm but it is so damaging to these plants to climb them,” chimed another. “Even more so when you do it because you influence so many others.”
The Mojave Desert Land Trust weighed in on the topic, according to The Blast. Executive Director Geary Hund asked that she consider her “status as a public figure” and take the photos down, encouraging her to use the incident as a teaching moment for others.
George Land, a spokesperson for the Joshua Tree National Park, said that while the desert landscape is fragile, they also want people to take it easy on the singer. Land asked that Cyrus consider her impact on the public, given that she is such a prominent public figure, and realize that her posts and activity have an impact.
So far, the photos showing a fresh-faced Cyrus have over a million likes and show Cyrus in a pink, purple, white, and black floral onesie.
Cyrus isn’t the only person who is hopping around on a Joshua tree and facing backlash for it. There is an Instagram account dedicated to calling out people who damage the fragile desert ecosystem called “Joshua Tree Hates You.” The account reposts images of people in Joshua Tree National Park who are using the landscape in unsafe or damaging ways.
The”Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” singer has yet to respond to the controversy.