Seeing an animal in the wild can leave you awestruck. It’s such a beautiful thing to witness an animal in its natural habitat that many people would love to capture the memory forever. Taking a picture from a distance is usually fine and unobtrusive. However, problems begin to come up when people take it a step further.
Approaching or touching a wild animal for a picture is irresponsible and dangerous to both the animal as well as the people that want a picture. These animals are called “wild animals” for a reason; they may attack and fatally harm whomever tries to get close to them. Furthermore, many wild animals have a natural fear response to humans. When someone approaches a wild animal, not only do they put themselves at risk of getting attacked by a scared animal, but they also may disrupt the animal’s natural fear response, which puts the animal and other humans in future danger.
There have been so many cases of tourists and curious individuals harming the natural environment and even killing animals all for a selfie. Here are just a few of the sad, and in some cases, scary examples.
1. Bison Gores a Woman and Flips a Little Girl
Source: CBS This Morning
At the end of June, a 72-year-old woman attempted to take a photo with a bison in Yellowstone National Park and was gored several times. The park recommends maintaining a 75-foot distance with these large animals, but the woman was within ten. According to Yellowstone’s senior bison biologist, Chris Geremia, her repeated approaching of the bison may have been perceived as a threat, and “a threatened bison may charge.” Another woman, also much closer than 75-feet, was knocked down by a bison only one month prior. Last summer, after a large group crowded and reportedly petted a bison, it charged at them. The viral video of the incident shows the bison flipping a 9-year-old girl into the air. Fortunately, she received medical attention and is okay.
2. Woman Drags Swan from Water, Killing it for Selfie
In 2016, a tourist yanked a swan by its wing and dragged it out from a lake in Macedonia all for a selfie. It’s bad enough that she roughly handled and caused great distress to this poor animal, but then she just left it die on the sand. It’s absolutely awful.
3. Baby Dolphin Passed Around and then
Source: On Demand News
In early 2017, a baby dolphin was pulled out of the ocean in Buenos Aires, passed around a crowd of people for pictures and videos, and left on the sand to die of dehydration. People who witnessed the incident claimed that the dolphin was still alive, but nobody returned it to sea. The tourist passed the poor dolphin around like an object there for only their enjoyment; they did not treat it as if it had a life and consciousness of its own. A similar tragedy occurred in 2016, also in Buenos Aires.
4. Selfies with Injured Vulture as it Tries to Fight Back
Source: Agami Photo Agency
In February, a Subadult Vulture fell in a forest near a town in India. The endangered vulture was hurt and when someone finally found it, the vulture was surrounded by a flock of crows. He took the vulture to Geedam forest division office; however, on the way there, a group of curious people seized their opportunity to take photos with the rare animal. Pictures show people “forcibly expanding the big feathers just for the sake of taking selfies with it even as the indisposed bird was seen fighting off their action.” Officials allowed this awful treatment to go on and only once were locals were done with their selfies did veterinarians treat the vulture.
5. Men Beat Seal Unconscious Using Metal Rods
Source: Johan Larson/Shutterstock
Recently, on a beach in Kazhakstan, men beat a seal with metal rods until it passed out. Then, they dragged the poor animal to the shore so that their children could play take pictures with it. Afterward, the men tossed the unconscious animal back to the sea. The seal likely died a slow, painful death and on the slim possibility that it survived, the seal is surely disabled and living in pain.
6. Man Bitten by Rattlesnake During Selfie
Source: News 4 Tucson KVOA-TV
In 2015, a man picked up a Rattlesnake to try to take a selfie with it. The terrified animal bit him, which landed him in the hospital for five days. Fortunately, the man survived, but he then faced a hospital bill that was over 150,000 dollars.
7. Model Attacked by Shark While Taking Photos
Source: CBS Los Angeles
In 2018, while vacationing in the Bahamas, a 19-year-old Instagram model decided to pose for photos with a group of sharks that were swimming nearby. While nurse sharks typically won’t bother people, they are more likely too if they feel threatened or their environment is disturbed. Thus, where the model got in the water to float above them for a picture, one of the sharks bit down on her arm.
8. Peacock Dies of Shock After Being Picked up for Pictures
Source: Newsy World
In February of 2016, visitors at a zoo in China lured peacocks close with food, grabbed their tails, and then held them for photos. The visitors even yanked out the poor birds’ feathers. Even though this event took place at a zoo (which has a whole other slew of issues to unpack), a peacock is still a wild animal that should not be handled in such a manner. Zookeepers quickly stopped the visitors, but one of the peacocks died of shock shortly after.
9. Man Pulls Struggling Shark from Ocean for a Pic
In 2016, a man in Palm Beach, Florida, pulled a shark out from the ocean so that he could get a photo with it. The footage of the incident shows the helpless animal struggling to get free so that it could return to the water, but the man handling it is relentless. He cruelly drags the animal onto the shore and holds it down while a crowd of people document the occurence.
10. Tourists Interrupt Sea Turtle Nesting
Source: On Demand News
The Ostional Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica is the nesting site for hundreds of thousands of olive ridley sea turtles. Every month, turtles come to lay their eggs along the beach. The refuge has guards and sometimes, even extra police officers but during the peak season, so many people came to beach through various entry points, that these guards were unable to keep the beach free of people for the turtles. Laws are in place to deny entry to tourists, except on guided tours, but they all chose to ignore this. There were so many people at the beach that a large number of turtles did not have the chance to lay their eggs. Furthermore, “People touched the sea turtles, stood atop of nests, snapped photos using flash, stood in the way of turtles, and even placed their children on top of the turtles for photos, refuge administrator Carolos Hernandez told La Nacion.” These tourists caused so much harm to these poor turtles and the olive ridley sea turtles species in general, all for a few pictures. It’s completely irresponsible and selfish behavior.
What Can You Do?
Animals are amazing! But rather than getting a picture with them, try to find ways to help them by donating to animal-related causes, making ethical choices, and preserving their environment. Rather than taking dangerous wildlife selfies, go to an animal sanctuary or watch a nature documentary. Always remember that if you see an animal in the wild, maintain your distance and don’t disturb it. If you want to take a quick video or picture from afar, that’s totally fine! Just let the animal be and go on with its day. Selfies really aren’t worth it and there are so many other ways to get a great picture.
Sign this petition to Urge Instagram to Ban Wildlife Selfies from its Platform!
Check out Some of Our Related Coverage of Wildlife Selfies:
- Progress! New Instagram Warning Educates Users About Cruelty Involved in Wild Animal Selfies
- Baby Elephant Dies After Idiots Decided to Take Selfies With Him Instead of Return Him to His Mother
- Model Who Was Bitten While Posing With Sharks Shows Why We Need to Stop Thinking Animals Are for Selfies
- Costa Rica Takes Action Against Wild Animal Selfies!
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