A step in the right direction! Just a couple months ago, we shared World Animal Protection’s new “Wildlife Selfie Code” campaign that urged people to never take a selfie with a wild animal. The campaign brought much-needed attention to how taking selfies with wild animals is anything but cute and 250,000 people signed the organization’s pledge. Now, the campaign has influenced Instagram to take progressive steps towards ending wild animal selfies!

There are tens of thousands of selfies on Instagram that feature exotic animals, and with every post, followers want to join the trend and take one of their own. But now, after working closely with World Animal Protection, Instagram has launched a new “content advisory page” that seeks to educate users about the issues selfies with wild animals cause. When Instagram users search for hashtags such as #koalaselfie and #slothselfie, a warning message will pop up.

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The warning reads “Animal abuse and the sale of endangered animals or their parts is not allowed on Instagram. You are searching a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behavior to animals or the environment.” Users can then click a link to visit World Animal Protection’s website to learn more about posts that encourage harmful behavior to animals. 

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“With its community of over 800 million users, Instagram has the platform to change the conversation around the use of animals as photo props. We are encouraged by this first step towards changing the acceptability of using animals for our entertainment,” said Cassandra Koenen, Head of Wildlife Campaigns at World Animal Protection.

Due to the beauty and intrigue of wild animals, many people are drawn to attractions that offer the opportunity to take photos with captive animals. Due to the world’s obsession with taking selfies, the wildlife selfie industry is incredibly profitable for those who keep the animals. However, what most people fail to realize is that these animals have no desire to be used as selfie props. In order to make animals comply with unnatural demands, they are either kidnapped from the wild and beaten into submission or bred in captivity and taken from their mothers at birth so they can be handled and fed by humans. Additionally, being handled by tourist after tourist exposes these precious animals to a vast array of germs and diseases.

This victory to end cruelty to wild animals was made possible because of YOU! For the dos and don’ts of animal selfies, read this. To show your commitment to cruelty-free selfies, you can sign World Animal Protection’s pledge.

Lead Image Source: TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay