Bernards’ friend, Mike Newlands, was also present when they witnessed the men taking the construction away. He says he spoke to one of the men who reached out to him asking for the photos, reports USA Today, and he asked why they removed the now world-famous structure.

“They took it away for a few reasons,” said Newlands. “It’s litter – public lands are to be respected, and this was out of place, in a pristine and sensitive environment.”

The men also reportedly removed it due to concerns about safety and the remote landscape where the monolith was located.

“With the amount of people who are not familiar with desert landscapes, the damage to the land from all the vehicles and people was going to be disastrous,” said Newlands.