Just when we thought people were finally catching on to the whole idea that exploiting wild animals to take selfies is not cool … we came across the news that two Australian men posted a photo of themselves “surfing” on a turtle. Facepalm, anyone?! The photo shows the men holding what looks like beer cans as they balance on top of the turtle with the accompanying caption: “Surfed a tortoise on zee weekend.. gnarly detrimental (sic).” The photo has been shared widely on social media, understandably sparking outrage from anyone with even the slightest compassion for animals. Not only has the photo got people up in arms, but the RSPCA even slammed the men as being “complete idiots,” for their action. It might seem like all fun and games for the “surfers,” but the reality is this photo likely cost the animal a fair amount of distress – not to mention, the men currently face fines of up to $20,000 by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.
Is it really worth it for this pic?!
Taking selfies with animals has sadly become a bit of a trend nowadays with people treating animals like they are nothing more but mere props. Unfortunately, the popularity of taking selfies with animals has caused many to experience physical harm and stress. In one recent case, tourists found a stranded, dying dolphin and instead of helping the suffering creature, they took selfies with the dolphin instead. In another incident, a woman killed a swan after pulling the bird out of the water just for a quick snap. In Costa Rica, hundreds of tourists prevented endangered sea turtles from nesting because they were taking selfies instead.
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service adds that it isn’t clear if the turtle is alive or not when the Australian men “surfed” on him, but what is clear is that taking selfies with animals sends a message that animals are ours to use for selfish purposes. Sea turtle populations have experienced a ten-year decline as a result of overfishing, growing levels of water pollution, and poaching but the past two years have shown the promise of recovery … however, this positive progress can only continue if people recognize the value of these animals. This is certainly not a message that is conveyed by surfing on these animals. The fact is, interfering with the animals to take a pointless selfie is not only detrimental to one animal but to the entire species in the message it sends to others.
We can do our part by being more conscious of how our choices impact the world around us. Selfies are fun to take, but please leave wildlife out of the picture.
Image source: Facebook