Officials are stepping up security at Machu Picchu after visitors were recently caught damaging and defecating inside the world wonder.
“We are going to strengthen security at Machu Picchu by installing high-tech cameras,” Jose Bastante, the head of the archeological park, told Agence France-Presse, as reported by the Daily Mail. “This will allow us to better control visitors and avoid any action or infraction to the regulations, also any type of risk.”
According to Bastante, the new security measures at the 600-year-old citadel will include drones as well as 18 cameras at three major access points in the mountainous region.
The plan for increased security comes more than a week after a group of tourists blighted the the UNESCO World Heritage site. On January 11, four men and two women between the ages of 20 and 32 hid in the ancient site with plans to illegally stay the night. They defecated in the Incan temple and caused a crack in the floor and a slab to fall from the walls.
“The damage caused is significant. The integrity of Machu Picchu has been broken,” Bastante said.
The visitors were arrested the next day. Five of them have since been deported to Bolivia and barred from returning to Peru for 15 years.
The New York Post reports that a sixth tourist, 28-year-old Nahuel Gomez, who made a stone slab fall from a wall and caused a crack in the floor, received a sentence of three years and four months, was fined $360 and is required to pay $1,500 to the cultural ministry for repairs. He, however, will be permitted to leave the South American country once he pays the fines.
The Temple of the Sun, which has stood in what is now known as Peru since the 1450s, 100 years before Spanish colonization, attracts 1.5 million visitors annually, and many have received public and legal reprisal for littering, defacing, defecating in and even posing naked in and around the treasured site.