At first glance, this may all seem like harmless fun and games but for the Sumatran Sun Bear seen in the video, it’s anything but. Meet Ajib, she is a 12-year-old Sumatran Sun Bear that has a three-month-old baby named Marsha. Ajib works at the Ball Elephant Camp located in Indonesia and the work she does consists of hugging and posing for visitors for photo opportunities. What these obviously clueless and ignorant visitors may not realize is that afterward sweet Ajib is then confined to a tiny cage, that most wildlife used in the tourist photo prop industry are taken from their homes and sold, and that the Sumatran Sun Bear is considered a critically endangered species.
The video was captured by the Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group and it shows the cruelty and conditions surrounding the tourist photo prop industry that so many wild animals fall victim to. According to Philip Mansbridge of the Born Free Foundation, “If you see a wild animal that isn’t in the wild, then it is time to ask questions. If it is a young animal, where is its mother? Where are its teeth and claws? Why is it so tame? The answers are probably ‘dead,’ ‘ripped out,’ and ‘because it’s terrified.’ That is not the setting for a fun Facebook photo.”
Change for Animals Foundation encourages travelers to act responsibly at home and abroad. They remind us that many animals kept at attractions are confined and exploited in ways that cause immense suffering, all to make a profit at the animals expense.
Learn more about why taking photos with wildlife is cruel and dangerous to both animals and people.