Caver's Code of Ethics

Accepted at the session of UkrSA Presidium on December 9, 1994.

Common codex of ethics based at the agreement is better than compulsory rules.

Responsible actions as an example to other people are more efficient than authoritative instructions.

  • Speleologists open and explore caves, make them known and accessible for the world of people. They must feel conscious about the uniqueness and vulnerability of caves’ environment and be responsible for their preservation.
  • Every speleologist is a source of potential harm for caves while exploring the caves as well as while visiting them. Remember this and care that the damage is minimal.
  • Publication of the results of new discoveries is a duty of the caves' explorer.

Behavior of the speleologist in caves and around them:

Consciousness of every speleologist is the best protection for caves. Speleologist should pay the maximal attention to the preservation of caves and strictly follow these principles:

  • Take care for the good relations with the native inhabitants in the districts that you visit or explore. Respect the right of private property and land, do not leave rubbish after yourself, keep away from harming crops and plantings.
  • In caves leave behind yourself minimal traces, do not take anything belonging to the cave from it. Choose carefully and if necessary mark a restricted path while moving in the cave. Preservation of the cave means preservation of its beauties as well as of the cave in general including all types of sediments, shutters etc. that are the part of its environment. Choosing the samples for the scientific purposes should be completed professionally, selectively and in minimal quantities.
  • Regard the underground world as vulnerable and sensitive one, be attentive to underground fauna even the smallest. It means that climate conditions of the cave or its part should not be changed.
  • Collecting mineral, biological or other cave finds is unacceptable and cannot be justified. That encourages others to collecting and serves despoilment of caves.
  • Clean the caves from rubbish that was left by unconscientious predecessors.
  • Always stay within your physical abilities; good self-control is a pledge of reasonable behavior. Exhausted speleologist cannot care about preservation of the cave.
  • Usage of equipment, hooks and structures in the cave should be careful and minimal but not at the expense of safety. «Easy» expeditions, using minimal quantity of equipment, avoiding wide usage of hooks and underground camps are the most preferable.
  • Building structures and mining works in caves, as mounting base camps, disassembly of goafs, large excavations, drainage of siphons, - may be produced as the aim of first passing but should be temporal, limited and justified by the goals of research. The consequences of such works especially for cave climate and fauna should be evaluated attentively.
  • Avoid bringing to caves large groups of people. The data of particular caves should not be popularized in mass media if those caves are not arranged for excursions. Holding the competitions, picnics and other entertaining activities in caves is a crime and treachery regarding them.
  • Visiting the cave in which the research lasts or that is in responsibility of speleological club should be made only in agreement with speleologists that research or being responsible for the cave. That is for reasons of safety, necessity to respect the work of researchers (discoverers) and to aid protection of the cave. But that does not mean the right of researchers and discoverers to “privatize” the cave and to make the access to it impossible for other speleologists that respect current rules and ethic principles.

THE MAIN POINT: Think before acting! Otherwise the consequences may be disastrous and irreversible.