The world was shocked recently with news that selfie taking tourists had killed a baby dolphin when they plucked it from the water and passed it around.
That didn’t stop another group of tourists from killing a peacock at a Chinese zoo when they swarmed the animals and plucked feathers from their bodies to keep as a memento.
Zookeepers say the tourist’s aggressive manhandling of the peacocks most likely caused the animals to die from stress and fear.
Authorities don’t keep track of the number of animals killed by selfie taking tourists, but animal rights groups have begun to speak out against the practice as insensitive and harmful to wild animals, an Australian animal activist told ABC News.
Wild animals are not toys or photo props. They should be appreciated, and left alone, in the wild where they belong.
— People Magazine (@people) February 21, 2016
Travelers are now more likely to die from taking selfies than from shark attacks, but the number of animals being killed by selfish tourists looking for the perfect photo is also on the rise.
Days after a crowd of sightseers killed a dolphin when they dragged it from the ocean for a selfie, another tourist plucked a shark from the water and pinned it down so he could pose for a photo.
After pinning the struggling shark to the ground by its tail and head, he held it there until a throng of sightseers was done taking photos; when he was done, he left the animal lying on the beach and walked away.
— The Sun (@TheSun) February 22, 2016
Another beachgoer attempted to release the shark back into the ocean, but it’s not clear whether the animal survived.
Last year, woman dubbed “veterinarian of the year” killed a cat with an arrow and posted the picture to her social media with the caption “the only good feral cat is one with an arrow through its head.”
The cat was later discovered to be an elderly couple’s missing domestic cat named Tiger. The Colorado State graduate was fired from her position with the Washington Animal Clinic.
— NoAnimalPoaching! (@NoAnimalPoachin) February 23, 2016
In 2015 the World Animal Protection launched a campaign to warn tourists away from participating in the animal entertainment industry, especially in Africa where sightseers fascination with lions helped promote a cruel industry.
Baby lion cubs as young as one week are separated from their mothers so tourists can take selfies with them; when the cubs are older they participate in “walking tours,” and the lions are later sold to canned hunting facilities.
— Pics of Cute Cats (@PicsOfCuteCats) February 17, 2016
In Thailand, tourist’s fascination with the fuzzy and cute looking but endangered slow loris has led to its virtual extinction because of the illegal pet trade, according to RT USA.
People are encouraged to think they’re cute and good for a photo but these are nocturnal animals from the jungle being dragged around neon-lit resorts, with their teeth and claws clipped, having cameras flashed in their eyes.
In response to the shocking behavior of selfish selfie taking tourists, PETA has begun a campaign to stop sightseers from harming wild animals with their desire for the perfect photo.
Remember: Animals are not our selfie props. If there’s any risk that your photo is going to hurt or stress an animal, it’s not worth it.
Think before you tale that selfie with a lion cub… http://t.co/MabGpWAkR2
— Nellie Huang (@WildJunket) July 16, 2015
There’s also a Care2 petition asking Facebook to ban big game trophy hunters from posting their kills to social media.
What do you think? When is it OK for tourists to take selfies’ with wild animals?
(Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)