#SelfishSelfies

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By now you’ve probably seen one of the many recent news coverage stories detailing incidents in which animals have been injured and/or killed by humans wanting to take photos with them. The trend has intensified this year with several documented cases of distinct animal cruelty, all in the name of selfies. Although there are no statistics on how many animals have been harmed due to the sudden craze, recent events have dramatically increased awareness of the damage humans are willing to inflict in order to create their once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

One case of animal related selfies come in the form of a man who, on the shores of Palm Beach, Florida, pulled a shark from the shallows. He then pinned it down by its head and tail as an assemblage of onlookers snapped photos. Okay, not technically a selfie but I don’t think we should get hung up on such a minor detail. When the man released the shark, another beachgoer attempted to pull the shark back into the ocean. This, however, proved unsuccessful, when the shark washed back onto the shore. Discovery reported that it is unknown whether the shark survived.

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A more recent case is a video from Argentina. It surfaced in February of this year. It presents a dolphin being taken from the ocean and passed around a large gathering of people who proceeded to take selfies with the animal. It was later reported that the endangered Franciscan dolphin—just 30,000 of which remain in the wild—died after it was mishandled. The video of the tragedy can be viewed hereWarning: Some of the images may be distressing for some viewers.

Many wildlife organisations including Care for the Wild International, have released pleas to tourists, begging them to stop taking photos with wild animals, particularly if it involves removing them from their natural environments. It’s hardly fair.

It appears that this trend is all in the name of social media. Getting more retweets and getting more likes on Instagram. Is it really worth it? That we are forsaking the health and often, lives of these poor creatures in the interest of social media glory. This barbaric trend must stop.

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