Costa Rica Launches Historic #StopAnimalSelfies Campaign To Raise Awareness, End The Cruelty & Support Wildlife Conservation
Costa Rica recently became the first country to launch a campaign aimed at eliminating the occurrence of cruel and inappropriate selfies with wild animals, as well as their negative effects and the risks involved. It is called the #stopanimalselfies campaign.
While Costa Rica is home to more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity and is one of the most biologically rich countries on the planet, sadly, selfies and photographs in direct contact with wild animals are causing great damage.
A worldwide study published by World Animal Protection in 2017 placed Costa Rica 7th in the world where photographs and selfies are severely impacting the biodiversity of the country.
As noted by the campaign, the “wildlife in Costa Rica is a public domain property protected by the State, so it is of national interest and responsibility of all Costa Ricans to ensure its proper management, use, and conservation.”
On a positive note, as per the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, more than 64% of the people who visit the country carry out activities directly related to ecotourism.
The Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) is committed to promoting responsible practices to ensure the health and conservation of wild species. That is why they are working to change harmful behaviors for wildlife through their promotion, communication, awareness, and educational campaigns that was launched in conjunction with the tourism sector.
Direct contact with wild animals can be a risk to people and generate stress and suffering to wildlife. Animals can also be carriers of diseases or spread pathogens transmitted by people, so it is necessary to maintain a safe distance when observing them in their native habitat or in sanctuaries, and also respecting their natural behaviors. This contact with wild animals puts people who visit us from inside and outside of the country at risk, so we must keep a safe distance.
The campaign aims to raise awareness about the appropriate treatment that a sustainable tourist destination must guarantee to wild animals and to those who approach them as visitors. Stop Animal Selfies has the support of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute for being a valuable contribution to the country’s sustainable tourism development design. In addition, the campaign watches over and is consistent with our interest in the safety of domestic and foreign tourists.
“We congratulate the government of Costa Rica for launching one of the most ambitious initiatives and promoting responsible tourism in the region and in the world,” stated Roberto Vieto, Wildlife Manager of World Animal Protection. “We would like more countries to take these types of actions and show the same degree of responsibility to protect animals, when conducting animal-friendly campaigns. The tourists who visit these places are not aware of the cruelty that these animals suffer just for a photo.”
When not done properly, taking selfies with wild animals can be cruel. Many people aren’t aware of the suffering their selfies can cause, so we’re supporting the Costa Rica government’s campaign to encourage responsible tourism.
How to take ethical photographs and selfies with wildlife?
Wild animals belong to each and every Costa Rican, part of our natural treasure, that is why we want to share their beauty with you.
We invite you to visit places where animals live and take all the photographs you want, as long as you respect their natural behaviors and do so at a safe distance, this to take care of yourself and protect wild animals.
The natural behavior of a wild animal in the presence of humans is to move away, flee or keep a safe distance from the person. Forcing him to stay close to people or attracting him with food causes stress, suffering, and disrupts his natural behaviors. So it is necessary to maintain a prudent distance when you want to observe in their natural habitat or in zoos and sanctuaries.
We invite you to download the Guide for a responsible selfie or photography with wildlife in Costa Rica!
More about #stopanimalselfies and details on how to join the campaign are available HERE!