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A wildlife charity is urging UK tourists to stop taking souvenir photographs with captive animals when they’re on holiday

Most vacationers will be familiar with the offer: a stranger’s chance to take a hilarious selfie with an exotic animal, one you can’t help but enjoy.

But in a new report, wildlife charity international free born says there is a high risk factor to the seemingly innocent act in tourist hotspots.

Born Free is calling for a boycott by ignorant proponents of the lucrative memorabilia trade that is outselling physical memorabilia.

hundreds “Red flag travel report”, shared by Born Free witnesses, recalling difficult encounters in Mexico, Morocco, Barbados and Thailand. Stories feature “sad”, “hostile” and “defensive” animals, with fees charged by their “aggressive” owners. According to Born Free, the reports help raise awareness of the most exploitative locations in holiday destinations.

The Selfish selfie: Exploiting captive wild animals for souvenir photos The report, released today (June 1), warns tourists against engaging in animal photography props on their summer vacation and asks them to sign a pledge against the take-out industry. tourist centered.

‘Selfish selfie’ poses a threat to wildlife and humans

(Beth Borrett/Born Free Foundation)

Founder Virginia McKenna said: “No animal exists to entertain us, to suffer for a souvenir, to live a life ruined by cruelty over one thing. instant camera.”

From big cats to birds of prey, animal props are often dressed up, sedated, and chained amid nervously flashing cameras and noisy crowds.

The opportunity for “selfish selfies” with native and protected wildlife, such as the Bengal slow loris, poses a threat to the natural behaviors of captive animals, which are often victims of the illegal wildlife trade.

The report raised concerns that animal welfare issues, such as mutilation, manipulation and malnutrition. is being activated at the expense of thousands of animals.

Attacks involving the public in close contact with captive wildlife are not uncommon. The huge potential risks to public health and safety, as well as threats of zoonotic diseases such as rabies to wild species, are associated with the use of live props. in the photography industry. Wildlife is naturally unpredictable, and vacationers should educate themselves to protect wildlife living in unnatural habitats.

Macaque monkeys are often dressed and chained to entertain tourists

(Beth Borrett/Born Free Foundation)

Born Free is calling for tighter regulations for the global travel industry and encouraging the UK to commit to combating the cruelty and abuse of service animals taking place around the world.

They say the increase in wildlife selfie opportunities at zoos, attractions and nightclubs capitalizes on the public’s love for animals and the “pursuit of likes online.” society”.

The incident of celebrities posing with exotic animals for entertainment has previously been condemned by Peta. In 2016, Justin Bieber was criticized for posing for a selfie with a captive tiger at a birthday party.

Will Travers, co-founder of Born Free, urges people not to risk snapping: “It may seem like an innocent operation, but as our report shows, the negative health effects are and the welfare of the animals involved, and not to be missed by the participants, who are at risk of injury or potentially disease, and who do not realize it are continuing a devastating activity. violent and cruel causes great trauma and suffering.

“I also urge all social media platforms to do the publishing of Selfish Selfies, an animal cruelty issue that needs to be reported.”

The commitments signed are Born Free’s attempt to encourage national governments, travel agencies and tour operators to stop promoting animal cruelty and animal exploitation for financial gain. .

The charity said: “Individual travel agencies and tour operators need to do more to ensure that they do not advertise or sell excursions with props for animal photography and other activities. close contact with wild animals in captivity.”


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