Thinking of Taking Selfies with Animals? Read This First

Thinking of Taking Selfies with Animals? Read This First

Seeing wild animals is a treat for us all, and once we see them, we can’t help but wanting to take pictures with them. Before any of you feel bad because you always want to see wild animals up close, hear this. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have that wish. There are ethical tour companies or zoos that you can find that allow you to take photos of them.

Unfortunately, some people only focus on getting the picture above all things, including their own safety and the animals’ safety/wellbeing. It gets worse with the presence of social media and the users’ obsession with unique or one-time-experience selfies. You can even find hashtags related to animal selfies like #tigerselfie on Instagram.

Now, here are countless reports about the danger and the harmful impact of taking selfies with wild animals and it’s very easy to find them. But rather than reading some articles or reports, reflecting and asking oneself is more effective to stop this possible act of cruelty. So before taking out our camera phones, ask yourself these questions.

– am I on holiday?

If that’s a yes, then good for you! You definitely deserve to have some time to just relax and have fun. However, this doesn’t mean that you can have any excuse for irresponsible behavior. Even if we love animals, we shouldn’t allow the desire of getting selfies to outweigh ethical and sustainable tourism practices.

– is that a wild animal?

If it’s a yes, then it’s best to just move along and observe the animal from afar. Wild animals are unpredictable, even though it’s a benevolent-looking, herbivore type of animal. When you’re taking a selfie, you have to turn your back, right? Well, you don’t want to turn your back on, let’s say, unpredictable tornado so you definitely don’t want to turn your back on unpredictable animal either.

“It is a poor choice from our perspective, A) to get that close to wildlife and B) to turn your back, particularly on bears,” said Matt Robbins, a spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The animal you’re looking at is not a wild animal? Okay, but you should still think about things that might happen. Innocent looking cats and dogs might have issues with strangers, resulting in attacks. There’s also rabies. And I’m pretty sure you’ve watched videos of people getting headbutt by goats or kicked by horses or cows. You really don’t want to fill their shoes, right?

– will this selfie lead me to trouble in terms of finding myself laying down in the emergency room?

We all know that we only live once, but being a daredevil in this kind of situation absolutely will not give you exciting/memorable experience. So if the answer is yes, don’t try your luck. The animal may seem calm and friendly, but if it has teeth, claws, hooves, horns, antlers, spines, stingers, fangs, or other defense mechanism, taking selfies with them puts yourself in danger.

The Yellowstone National Park has got two stories of tourists getting injured by bison because they got too close (despite constant warnings). In 2015, a 16-year-old tourist got tossed when she tried to take a selfie, and just a few weeks later, 62-year-old man had the same experience.

So really, if the answer to this question is a yes, a drive to take a selfie is best forgotten, ‘cause it’s just not worth it. And you should remember that when an animal attacks humans, they could end up being put down, even when we’re the ones at fault.

– will this selfie hurt the animal?

Yes? Then skip the selfie. When it seems like it’s harmless for humans, it doesn’t mean there will be no harm toward the animals. I think most of us have heard the news telling about how people harming and even killing animals when they were trying to get pictures with them. Remember the baby dolphin of a rare species? Or a woman that dragged a swan and left it to die?

Those are the obvious examples. What about the times when we don’t know if we actually do the animals harm? Take sea turtles. When they came to the shore, tourists love to take photos of them. It seems like there’s no problem because they came on their own will. However, camera flash is harmful to them and they could leave the shore because of it, reducing their chance of nesting success.

– do I smell something fishy here?

Do the organizers or facilities that allow people to get close to the wild animals seem too good to be true? If they do, and we sense that there’s something not right with them, then leave.

A good example would be zoos/places that allow you to pet, cuddle, and take pictures of tiger, lion, or leopard cubs. Some places that do this profit from the cubs. But once they’re too big, they’re sold into canned hunting or killed, and sold for parts.

To make things worse, they’re mostly treated inhumanely by both the keeper and the ones who pay to pose with them. Remember Tiger Temple? At some time it had been so famous because tourists can be close to this wild animal, but it turned out that the tigers had been getting poor treatment. In 2016, law enforcement and wildlife officials removed all the tigers from the temple.

There’s a poster saying you can swim and take lots of pictures with dolphins? That’s a big no. This includes doing it with wild dolphins, because tour companies would chase down dolphin pods just to please the tourists, not letting them rest.

After you’re done asking those questions, we ask ourselves one more time, “Is this what I want? Do I really want the animals to suffer for the sake of getting selfies/pictures?” The answer to that depends entirely on us.

Read also: No More Animal Abuse Posts, Now You can Track Them on Instagram



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