TOURISTS may have killed off a rare species of shrimp by relieving themselves on Australia's iconic Uluru, or Ayers Rock, according to a report.
Biologist Brian Timms said his research had showed one species of small inland shrimp living in pools atop the monolith had become extinct while another had thrived.
”The people going up the rock somehow have affected the animals which live in the pools, possibly by peeing on the rock and pooing on the rock,” Timms told state radio.
The Branchinella latzi species had not been seen on Uluru since the 1970s, and would have been susceptible to “enrichment” of the pool's water, he added.
”Certainly if (tourists) go up, they should be behaving themselves, not pooing on the rock,” Timms said.
However, a species of fairy shrimp had survived, probably because it was “widespread and tough”, according to Timms.
Australia is mulling a ban on tourists climbing the rock, which is a sacred part of Aboriginal tribes' creation mythology.
Tour operators claim visitors are often caught short on the arduous climb, and most had a “toilet roll tucked away” in case of emergency.