First ever government campaign against wildlife selfies

13 November 2019

Your support has helped push the Costa Rican government to deliver a world-first #StopAnimalSelfies campaign.

When the country was named the seventh most common location for animal selfies in our 2017 report: 'A close up on cruelty: The harmful impact of wildlife selfies in the Amazon', the Costa Rican government knew that direct action was needed to turn the tide on this cruel trend.

With your help, World Animal Protection joined forces with the government's Ministry of Energy and Environment, airlines, and other non-governmental organisations to deliver #stopanimalselfies.

The education campaign targets tourists with TV ads on British Airways and Lufthansa flights to Costa Rica to reduce demand for cruel selfies and ensure that all wild animals remain in the wild.

The message could reach millions

Leaflets with the wildlife selfie code will be given to tourists who arrive in the country, and pop-up photobooths with stuffed animals spread the message that these are the only animals that should be used as photo props.

On top of this, billboards against wildlife selfies will be displayed at popular destinations and actors and influencers will help spread the word. It’s a massive education campaign which could reach 1.7 million people – helping to protect not only wild animals in Costa Rica, but all over the world where these tourists will travel in the future. 

Animals reduced to photo props

Two sloths used as photo props for tourists to take selfies with

Sloths, anacondas, monkeys and wild animals are exploited every day by irresponsible tour operators. They’re stolen from their natural habitats and trapped in conditions that can never meet their needs.

Reduced to a photo prop and passed endlessly between people, they suffer injury, stress and disease until they eventually die. Taking photos and videos that show direct wild animal contact or handling is illegal, but this has not meant that the practice has stopped.

The popularity of these images on social media is driving demand. Sadly, most people don't realise how cruel these photo opportunities are.

The #StopAnimalSelfies campaign will educate visitors on animal friendly tourism and encourage them to avoid interactions that are damaging to wildlife.

By joining forces with the government and travel companies, together, we’re helping to keep wild animals in the wild – where they belong.

 

The education campaign will ensure 1.7 million tourists a year are armed with the facts they need to make their holiday animal-friendly.
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