Instagram Combats Animal Cruelty By Banning Selfies With Exotic Animals

Instagram's new pop ups will alert users to potential instances of animal abuse

As a result of incidents like these, Instagram is finally taking steps to make its users aware of the more sinister aspects of some animal photos on its service.

The message warns you that you are searching for a hashtag that's associated with a post that encourages harmful behavior towards animals.

The move comes not long after a group of high-profile conservation photographers launched their Photographers Against Wildlife Crime project in an effort to combat animal exploitation.

Thus, when you search or click an offending hashtag, like #koalaselfie or #koalahugs, then you will see a pop-up warning. In the future, it's possible that Instagram may alter its guidelines to further raise awareness and perhaps even prohibit any and all posts that depict this form of animal abuse. "For example, be wary when paying for photo opportunities with exotic animals, as these photos and videos may put endangered animals at risk".

Instagram doesn't plan on revealing all of the hashtags associated with the message so that users can stumble upon it during their searches.

Image Instagram
Image Instagram

Wildlife selfies on social media is a growing phenomenon. There was a similar incident at a zoo in China, too, where visitors handled a couple of peacocks for selfies, causing both to die of apparent fright.

"We care about our community, including the animals and the wildlife that are an important part of the platform", Instagram spokeswoman Emily Cain told National Geographic.

Celebrities including socialite Paris Hilton and reality start Khloe Kardashian have been roundly criticised for posing for pictures with chimpanzees and orangutans at private zoos by the UN's Great Apes Survival Partnership, who branded them "chumps with chimps" previous year.

Though there are plenty of people who don't give two shits about the safety of animals when it comes to furthering their brand, Instagram is hoping these notifications will help to educate people who don't know about the negative ramifications of riding an elephant while overseas. Due to the world's obsession with taking selfies, the wildlife selfie industry is incredibly profitable for those who keep the animals. Each of these things is also regularly shared on Instagram.