A close up on cruelty
Our new report, ‘A Close up on cruelty: The harmful impact of wildlife selfies in the Amazon', reveals the alarming trend of taking selfies with wild animals for Instagram and other social media.
To provide research for the report, our team of experts and investigators conducted the world’s first complete review of wildlife tourist attractions offering close encounters with wild animals across Latin America.
Our research raises concerns that many of them are cruelly exploiting and injuring wildlife. They’re also breaking animal protection laws in the process, to provide harmful wild animal selfie opportunities for tourists.
We found that:
- 54% of the 249 attractions we found online offered direct contact, such as holding the wild animals for photos or selfies
- 35% used food to attract the wild animals
- 11% offered the opportunity to swim with wild animals
Wildlife and the selfie phenomenon
The fact that sloths, caiman, anacondas, and more, are often beaten into submission before being ‘safe’ enough for selfies, is left out of the camera’s frame. These animals are taken from their mothers as babies, then secretly kept in filthy, cramped conditions.
Sadly, the cruelty that makes these animals submissive enough to use for wildlife selfies is entirely invisible to the unsuspecting tourist.
If tourists knew the truth, they’d stay out of this ugly picture.
For this report, our investigations team focused on two cities in the Amazon: Manaus, Brazil and Puerto Alegria, Peru.
In Manaus, our detailed investigation of 18 different tour companies revealed that the opportunity to hold and touch wild animals as photo props was offered on 94% of excursions. It was actively encouraged in 77% of them.
In Puerta Alegria, the opportunity to hold and touch wild animals as photo props for about US $15 was also provided at three different locations. We identified a total of 40 animals from 24 species.
Get the full report
Download a copy of ‘A Close up on cruelty: The harmful impact of wildlife selfies in the Amazon’.