Social media photos showing Miley Cyrus posing in a Joshua tree have drawn criticism from people concerned about protecting the iconic desert species.
The photos posted this week on Instagram were captioned “Looking down at all the petty drama like….” and “Monkey Bizzzzznassssss” but gave no specific location.
The Desert Sun newspaper reported other photos posted in the past two weeks appear to show the singer near electricity-producing windmills in the Palm Springs area of California.
Joshua trees are protected in Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve as well as under some city and county ordinances.
With their dagger-like leaves and contorted limbs, the trees are considered important to the Mojave Desert ecosystem.
There was no immediate response to an email seeking comment from a publicist for Cyrus.
Susan Burnett, who manages Mojave Sands hotel in the community of Joshua Tree, told the Desert Sun the images of Cyrus are a setback in educating the public about the trees.
“There is no way to erase the idea her image presents that climbing these endangered plants is cool,” Burnett said. “I’m counting on her to help make this right and use her platform to help us preserve these ancient beauties.”
Joshua Tree National Park spokesman George Land expressed similar concern.
“We would just remind her that she has a big following, people watch what she does, and it would be greatly appreciated by the Park Service and the people around the area if she would maybe curb that type of activity, especially posting it on her social media page,” he said.