Stop taking 'tiger selfies' that fund animal abuse, charity says

Care for the Wild is campaigning against use of 'photo' prop animals

A A A

A wildlife charity is making a plea to tourists to stop taking “tiger selfies” and spreading them on social media, supporting animal abuse around the world.

Care for the Wild International started its “No photos, please!” campaign against the use of so-called photo prop animals last year.

Campaigners want to alert travellers to the sickening trade behind the pictures, which often sees animals kept in squalid conditions and funds illegal poaching and trafficking.

To mark International Tiger Day on Tuesday, it is focusing on animals kept at tourist attractions and “tiger temples” in Thailand.

Philip Mansbridge, chief executive of Care for the Wild, told The Independent: “The danger is really the damage that happens behind the scenes, particularly with animals from the wild.

“The back story is that people have gone into the wild, into the jungle, into the forests to snatch these animals.”

While many tiger attractions and lion enclosures claim to be sanctuaries, the charity argues that any place intending to release animals into the wild would not allow them to be handled by the public.

A tiger at the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi, Thailand rolls around A captive tiger at the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi, Thailand But Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are strewn with pictures of people hugging tigers, lying on top of them and even holding cubs.

“Tiger selfies” have become so common on Tinder that an entire Tumblr has been devoted to men who post them on the dating app in the hope of upping their appeal.

Mr Mansbridge said that based on anecdotal evidence, pictures with tigers seem to be shared more among the “Facebook” generation.

“A picture of yourself doing something normal isn’t good enough anymore," he said.

"People want something to say ‘I’m interesting, I’m cool’ and posing with a powerful animal like a tiger does that.”

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said a 2010 commitment from countries with wild tigers to double their numbers by 2022 looks far from being reached.

The number then was believed to be 3,200 but the figure was just an estimate due to gaps in national surveys.

Statistics from Traffic, which monitors the wildlife trade, show that a minimum of 1,590 have been poached since 2,000 – averaging two a week – and the number could be higher.

The phenomenon of “photo prop” animals, including elephants, snakes, bears and lizards, is common in parts of Asia, Africa and South America.

Some handlers charge for photos, while others use them for begging or sell food to feed the animals.

“People sometimes think they’re doing the animal a favour,” Mr Mansbridge said.

“Because they think at least if they give the person some money it will be fed or treated better but that’s not the case – often they are linked to all sorts of other crimes.”

Lion and tiger cubs can be found in Cancun, Mexico, while slow lorises are the latest trend in Thailand.

A photograph of Rihanna posing with a slow loris has led to two arrests in Phuket, Thailand A photograph of Rihanna posing with a slow loris led to two arrests in Phuket, Thailand When Rihanna posted a picture with one online last year, it sparked police raids in Phuket and the arrest of two suspected poachers.

Police said a 16-year-old boy and man aged 20 had illegally bought two protected lorises to charge tourists money for photos.

According to Care for the Wild, it is estimated that for every wild animal caught and sold for the photo prop or pet trade, 50 die in the process.

Teeth and claws are often ripped out to prevent the animals attacking their captors and they can be sedated with drugs.

A spokesman for the charity said: “Don’t be fooled into thinking that one quick photo won’t hurt – it will. Each and every photo taken is keeping the industry alive."

Abta is among the travel associations urging agents to assess attractions' compliance with animal welfare laws and sustainable tourism before offering them to customers.

Read more: Rihanna's slow loris selfie sparks police raid in THailand
Why guys are posing with tigers on Tinder and why it won't get them dates
Save the tiger - a majestic animal on its knees
Everything you need to know about International tiger day
News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Science Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Key stage 3 and 4 Teacher requi...

RE Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Teacher of Religious Education ...

A Level Chemistry Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: A Level Chemistry Teacher - Humb...

NQT Secondary Teachers

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is actively r...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence