Instagram to carry abuse warning for koala and tiger selfies

Protecting Wildlife and Nature from Exploitation – Instagram

Put down the selfie stick and step away from the koala.

An Instagram representative tells the Huffington Post that "hundreds of hashtag combinations" will now trigger a warning advising users about the problems of wildlife exploitation.

Users looking to search for hashtags, used to categorise images on the platform, such as #tigerselfie will be presented with a warning message reading: 'Animal abuse and the sale of endangered animals or their parts is not allowed on Instagram'.

The alert system builds off similar suicide prevention methods on Instagram, which sees pop-ups linked to hashtags connected with self harm.

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Facebook's photo-sharing app on Tuesday began singling out hashtags like #SlothSelfie and #koalaSelfie, alerting users with pop-up messages that exotic animals appearing in tourist photo-ops are often subjected to abuse. "The protection and safety of the natural world are important to us and our global community".

In many areas, animals are often illegally captured to generate money from tourists who jump at the chance to take a selfie with an exotic species, a practice that is highly unsafe for the animals involved. "I think it's important for the community right now to be more aware". Some of them are kept in cages and are only let out to entertain guests, according to researchers from the World Animal Protection.

While humans taking pictures with exotic animals is far from a recent phenomenon, there's no denying the rise of social media has brought the practice to a new, much wider audience. In August, a baby dolphin died in Spain while being passed around by tourists to take a selfie.

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