Research

Instagram is cracking down on animal selfies

Instagram is cracking down on animal selfies

In many areas, animals are often illegally captured to generate money from tourists who jump at the chance to take a selfie with an exotic species, a practice that is highly risky for the animals involved.

These warnings now come up on wildlife photos on Instagram.

"The explosive trend of posting wildlife selfies on the site has driven the suffering and exploitation of some of the world's most iconic animals across the globe", officials from World Animal Protection said in a release. Animal protection groups have been warning people for some time about the industries that support animal selfies and the abuse suffered by the monkeys, koalas, and tigers posing in them.

The message is a response to research conducted by WAP that shows a 292% increase in the number of wildlife selfies posted on Instagram since 2014.

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We encourage everyone to be thoughtful about interactions with wild animals and the environment to help avoid exploitation and to report any photos and videos you may see that may violate our community guidelines.

This is a good reminder that most wild animals do not want to take a photo with you, unless they're being baited with food, drugged, or beaten into submission.

Facebook's photo-sharing app on Tuesday began singling out hashtags like #SlothSelfie and #koalaSelfie, alerting users with pop-up messages that exotic animals appearing in tourist photo-ops are often subjected to abuse.

Fiercer beasts such as tigers and lions often are de-clawed and have their teeth removed or dulled to make them less of a threat to Instagram-happy tourists, says Crawford Allan of the World Wildlife Fund.