Easter Island Statues Suffer 'Irreparable Damage' Caused By Forest Fire

By Bill Galluccio

October 7, 2022

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Photo: Getty Images

Some of the famed "Moai" statues on Easter Island suffered "irreparable damage" after a forest fire tore through Rapa Nui Natural Park.

The fire burned nearly 250 acres, charring at least 30 of the 13-foot oversized heads in the area. There are over 1,000 statues scattered throughout the entire park.

The statues were carved over 500 years ago by a Polynesian tribe and are considered sacred.

In a Facebook post including photos of the damaged statues, Ariki Tepano, director of the Ma'u Henua community in charge of the management and maintenance of the park, said that the "moai are totally charred and you can see the effect of the fire upon them."

DAÑO IRREPARABLE Ariki Tepano, director de la comunidad Ma’u Henua a cargo de la administración y mantención del...

Posted by Municipalidad de Rapa Nui on Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Easter Island mayor, Pedro Edmunds Paoa, told local news outlets that he believes the fire was an act of arson, claiming "all the fires on Rapa Nui are caused by human beings," The Guardian reported.

"The damage caused by the fire can't be undone," he said. "The cracking of an original and emblematic stone cannot be recovered, no matter how many millions of euros or dollars are put into it."

Officials have closed the park to investigate the fires and assess the damage.

The park had just reopened in August after being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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