A wildlife conservation charity called World Animal Protection is asking people to pledge to follow their Wildlife Selfie Code, which aims to educate tourists on how best to interact with wild animals. The growing trend for taking selfies with wild animals is having a devastating effect on the animals captured for photographs and for threatened species as a whole.
There has been a 292% increase in wild animals selfies posted on Instagram since 2014 to the present day, with the majority of the photographers apparently unaware of the harmful effects this activity is having on wild animals. Not only are many of the animals kept in cruel conditions, having been stolen from the wild, they are treating inappropriately and won’t survive long.
Sloths have become an obvious target of this trend; and with their perpetually smiling faces and slow movements they are the ideal subject for selfies. But they are captured from their natural habitats, kept in noisy and unsuitable conditions, and endlessly exploited and passed around between tourists. It is expected that sloths kept in such conditions do not survive more than 6 months living such a miserable existence.
I’m sure the majority of tourists who take wildlife selfies are well-meaning animal lovers who don’t realise what’s going on and don’t anticipate that the shock and stress of human contact can kill a wild animal. Just read about this dolphin that died when tourists dragged it from the water to take selfies.
If this kind of story sickens you then please sign up to the Wildlife Selfie Code here and help World Animal Protection spread the word by sharing your pledge on social media.