Costa Rica has launched a campaign asking travellers not to take wildlife selfies. It is home to more than 5% of the world's biodiversity and is one of the countries with the greatest biological wealth. However, selfies and photographs in direct contact with wild animals are causing great damage to this biodiversity, and it is aiming to become the first country to regulate the incidence of selfies involving wild animals through the initiative #stopanimalselfies.
Wildlife in Costa Rica is a public domain property protected by the state, and according to Pamela Castillo, vice-minister of environment and energy, direct contact with wild animals represents a risk to people and generates stress and suffering to the fauna. "Animals can also carry illnesses or get sick by pathogens transmitted by human beings," she says. "For these reasons, it is necessary to keep a safe distance when they are seen in their natural habitat or sanctuaries and respect their natural behavior."
The campaign is asking visitors to refrain from offering food to wild animals and trying to capture them. They should not make loud noises or throw objects to animals in sanctuaries or rescue centres to try to get their attention, and should also never touch, grab or hold an animal. The campaign wants to raise awareness about the negative impacts of selfies and photographs that show direct contact with wild animals, and it seeks to reduce these cruel behaviours and warn of the possible risks involved.
For further information on the campaign, please see here.
Read more: How to be a responsible wildlife tourist