Selfies casually featuring a cat make up a high percentage of pictures used in the dating app universe – but when the cat is a wild one, not a Felis catus, the situation becomes something completely different … and not at all innocent. Recently, the dating app Tinder received a great amount of pressure from animal activists because of app users posting selfies … with tigers. As a response, Tinder has now officially urged its users to stop taking and posting the so-called tiger pictures.

A call to action in regards to the issue has been made by the animal rights group PETA. “What might, at first swipe, look like a harmless picture actually means that someone was caged, dominated, and tied down or drugged before their photo was taken and uploaded online,” the organization wrote in a letter to Tinder co-founder Sean Rad. “Not only are these types of photos cruel to animals, unaware Tinderlings might also mistake them for cute, harmless pictures and be prompted to take part in this abusive industry themselves.”

“It’s time for the tiger selfies to go,” Tinder team now says in a blog post dedicated to the issue and emphasizes that, most often, the photos take advantage of animals that were forcefully taken from their natural environment and put into captivity. The app urges the guilty parties to take down their tiger photos and everyone to join the conversation on social media with the #NoTigerSelfies hashtag. At the same time, the company pledged to donate 10,000 dollars to Project Cat in honor of International Tiger Day!

Instead of tiger photos, Tinder also encourages the users to show that their care about the environment and the animals by posting a photo of them, for example, “planting a tree,” “conserving water by drinking rosé,” or “enjoying a summer sesame falafel bowl at your favorite vegan eatery.” (Incidentally, an experiment conducted last year in Australia showed that men with vegan Tinder profiles received more engagement from potential mates, VegNews reports.)

The issue of tiger selfies is one that very few people understand – after all, businesses that exploit these animals do their best to make it seem like they have the animals’ best interest in mind. By taking a stand against these photos and encouraging people to learn the truth about the illegal wildlife trade and the animal photo business, Tinder is making information accessible to tons of people who would have never known otherwise.

Remember, wild animals belong in the wild … not captive for our frivolous entertainment! Finding someone who is environmentally conscious and aware of issues facing endangered animals – now that sounds like a real dream.

Image source: tpsdave/Pixabay