In a world dominated by social media and the pursuit of viral fame, the topic of taking selfies with wild animals has ignited a fiery debate. Vegan activist Jennifer White, from PETA, recently argued on Good Morning Britain that such selfies are “narcissistic” and “leading to so much suffering.”
This conversation gained momentum after a tragic incident where a newborn foal fell to its death from a cliff when people startled it while attempting to take selfies. But is it fair to label all such selfies as narcissistic and harmful to wildlife?
Jennifer White’s argument against selfies with wild animals stems from her concern for the well-being of these creatures. She emphasizes that these animals are living beings with their own needs and wants.
The quest for a social media post and a few likes should not come at the expense of their lives and welfare. White’s point highlights the dangers and consequences of human interference with wildlife for the sake of a photograph.
The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) has also cautioned visitors to maintain a safe distance from wild animals like ponies. This highlights the importance of respecting the habitats and behaviors of these creatures to ensure their protection.
Jennifer White’s standpoint raises a critical question about our relationship with nature. Are we appreciating wildlife or exploiting it for our personal gain? She suggests that there are alternative ways to celebrate and enjoy wildlife, such as watching nature documentaries or participating in responsible eco-tourism.
On the opposing side, former Apprentice star Ryan-Mark Parsons argues that taking selfies with wild animals can be a way to celebrate and appreciate wildlife. He asserts that Jennifer White’s perspective is overly negative and that people should enjoy the beauty of nature.
Parsons acknowledges that he recently shared a picture of himself with donkeys in Santorini, which were not wild animals but still stirred controversy. He argues that this interaction was a positive experience for both him and his followers. His point is that taking such photos can promote a connection with nature and raise awareness about Conservation efforts.
The debate over selfies with wild animals raises ethical questions about our relationship with the natural world. On one hand, these photos can increase awareness and appreciation for wildlife, potentially leading to more Support for Conservation efforts. On the other hand, they can result in harm to the animals themselves, disrupt their habitats, and promote a culture of narcissism.
It is essential to find a balance between celebrating wildlife and respecting the animals’ autonomy and well-being. This balance should also consider the potential consequences of human interference in their natural environments. Conservation should remain at the forefront of any discussion involving interactions with wild animals.
Sign this petition to stop selfies with wild animals!
What you can do
Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.
Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.
This article by Trinity Sparke was first published by One Green Planet on 18 September 2023. Image Credit :David Bokuchava/Shutterstock.