Caves are amongst the last unaltered places in Nature, constituting authentic natural reserves. Thus, cavers and speleologists must assure the maintenance of caves original conditions, avoiding unnecessary alteration.
Do not remove from caves any speleothem, archaeological remain, geological sample or biological specimen if they aren’t intended for a previously and correctly planned study, whose conclusion is guaranteed. (Private “museums” are nothing but a way of promotion of their “owners”, at the expense of Nature’s depredation. A great number of “studies”, in name of which caves are despoiled of their scientific evidences, are the cover for irretrievable devastations.)
Do not disturb the evidence of episodes of cave’s history: don’t make excavations and don’t take out of their position speleothems naturally broken. (Only experts can adequately carry out excavations; the position of speleothems moved away from their primitive placement by natural causes is of scientific interest only if not modified.)
Choose carefully one unique track through the cave and don’t add unnecessary rambles.
Let speleothems intact and as clean as they are. (Often it is not necessary to tread speleothems or touch them with a muddy overall; in some cases walking in a passage requires much care in order to avoid breaking crystallizations.)
Do not make carvings on the caves’ walls and don’t write or draw with the acetylene flame.
Do not leave carbide residues or garbage and remove them whenever found even if they seem insignificant.
Avoid smoking in caves, especially if they aren’t ventilated or have bats.
Avoid to leave human dejects during the visit to caves.
Avoid clearing up cave passages if speleothems or characteristic forms are at risk. (In case of evidence, furnished by meteorological, geological, topographic study, or others, the remotion should be conducted just until the minimum necessary diameter is reached and the use of highly destructive methods avoided.
Avoid the production of toxic gases inside caves whatever its nature (explosives, motors). Besides representing a danger for users, they can damage existing fauna or became a problem for following visitors. In case of inevitable necessity to carry out works producing toxic gases, their existence should be signalized at the entrance of the cave.
Maintain the caves’ entrance area clean and unnecessary modifications.
Elucidate the inhabitants of karst regions about the inconvenience of using caves as garbage deposits, sewerage points or dead animals’ depository, as well as filling up caves with stones.
Denounce and struggle against speleothems and crystals vendors.
Let cave life (biological or chemical-physical) as unaltered as possible.
Speleologists should collaborate and co-ordinate their studies instead of act isolated, in order to avoid becoming the main harmful of caves.
a) To the beginners
The lack of technical, scientific and ethic knowledge can originate serious consequences to the visitor and to the cave.
The one curious about caves should not caving alone or with friends in the same situation. He should contact a speleological association instead of groups of scattered interests or multi-activities. This is the mean to obtain technical knowledge needed to caves exploration, as well as to know about precautions to avoid caves degradation.
b) To the cavers and speleologists
The one who has got enough technical and scientific knowledge about Speleology and its experience allows him to enter a cave with beginners, he should only to control a reduced number in order to be able to watch their behaviour and avoid they make inevitable errors.
Do not divulgate the existence of a cave among people without preparation to enter in it.
Avoid at all cost the actuation of vandals and souvenirs hunters.
c) To the speleological associations
A speleological association shouldn’t visit caves which are being explored or studied by others without their accordance.
If a speleological association has finished the study of a cave or has no future work previewed it should facilitate to any association the access to cave. It is desirable that both associations establish relations of collaboration, the first one providing the already obtained results in order to reach together a study as complete as possible.
Whenever planning to visit a cave the owner of the land should be informed. Do not carry out digging works at surface without its accordance. Do not damage sown lands, walls or other existing structures.
If the entrance of a cave has to be uncovered it should be covered again after the visit to avoid people or animals to fall down in the cave.
Official and private authorities should direct their actuation within the limits of protection of the environment of karst regions.
a) Private entities (quarries, show caves, etc.) should:
Not to project constructions that could destroy or endanger the purity of cave environment, both underground and on the related surface aspects.
To submit their projects to the approval of the official authorities, in order to guarantee that its activity will not cause any damages to the cave environment.
To inform the speleological associations and/or official authorities about all caves discovered, avoiding to continue works that risk to obstruct or damage them.
To build the necessary structures (septic tanks, sewerage systems, etc.) to avoid cave, karst regions and water pollution.
Touristic projects should:
Promote the adequate scientific studies previously to opening to public or whenever necessary.
Maintain cave environment natural, avoiding access structures and artificial adornments.
Avoid destroying the entrance area.
Avoid cave deterioration by tourists (smoke, garbage, mutilations) or equipment (illumination, etc.).
Avoid unrestrained exploitation, without number of visitors control, to such an extend to originate alteration of the ecologic balance of the cave, which can give rise to irreversible damages.
b) The responsibility of official authorities (ministries, parks, autarchies) is:
To watch over the rigorous accomplishment of the nature conservation laws.
To promote planning initiatives to prevent possible degradations of known speleological heritage or make possible its complete knowledge.
To support initiatives for education of populations and private and public subordinate entities about cave protection issues.
c) The responsibility of speleologists and speleological associations is:
To give warning about projects that could originate degradation of pollution of cave and karst environment.
Avoid possible degradation by advising potential promoters or contacting competent authorities whenever more vigorous measures are necessary.
To inform speleological associations and/or official authorities whenever there are sites which need protection because of their aesthetics or scientific interest.
To carry out initiatives to protect cave environment and advertising issues related to its protection and pollution.