Even those who are only sporadically on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter cannot ignore it:
Happy vacationers post pictures of themselves with a monkey on their shoulder, petting a big cat, riding a camel – or even riding an elephant.
The photo tourism industry is growing and flourishing – in every major tourist destination you can meet traders who offer to take a photo with monkeys, koalas, snakes or even elephants and big cats. The presence of such images on social media shows how eagerly tourists accept these offers – great business.
What does it actually mean for the animals to end up as a photo souvenir?
Abuse and mutilation
Behind the “photo accessories” are animals that were torn away from their mother and other social partners at a young age, often immobilized with medication and made submissive by force.
The animals’ claws or teeth are often removed so that they do not bite or otherwise injure the tourists – that would be bad for business.
If the animals are too old or too unpredictable, they are disposed of – big cats such as tigers, lions and leopards then usually end up on a “game farm”, where they are released for hunters to shoot for a fee.
Other animal species spend the rest of their short lives cooped up in tiny cages.
Species extinction and illegal trade
Many of the animal species that can be seen in the photos are endangered – for example the slow lorikeet.
These animals may not be kept legally – and certainly not be used as a photo object all day as a tourist attraction or as fun objects.
These animals are likely to have been trafficked – that is, they were captured from the wild to attract tourists.
The victims of photo tourism die early
Reaching around means unbelievable stress for the animals – regardless of whether they belong to an endangered species or not.
They often die early as a result of the hardships and inadequate care.
Taking photos, often with a flash, also scares the animals off. Improper posture and constant contact with a wide variety of people mean that the likelihood of infections and a generally poor physical condition is very high.
The nocturnal slow loris, which unfortunately you see more and more often in pictures of tourists, are shown in broad daylight.
These factors cause the animals to die miserably early.
Photo tourism encourages the illegal trade in endangered species
Seeing photos of people together with wild animals often encourages the desire to keep these animals as pets.
In the meantime, various research studies show that animals that can be seen in photos / videos together with people are perceived as less threatened and are also assessed as suitable pets.
Thus the demand of the pet trade with these animal species is growing – and with it, unfortunately, the illegal wildlife trade
Photo tourism is spreading
The photo tourism business is expanding due to its high popularity with tourists – celebrities such as the singer Rihanna, who was photographed with a slow loris in Thailand, have also contributed to this.
With dramatic effects.
A few years ago, the offer of photos with these animals was only limited to those countries where slow loris can be found in the wild (e.g. Thailand), the trend is spreading.
Researchers found, among other things, several slow loris in a popular holiday destination in Turkey.
These then often end up with tourists as “monkeys” “lemurs” or “bush babies” on social media.
How the animals ended up in Turkey is not clear – only one thing is clear: it did not happen legally.
Because business is booming, more and more animal species, often endangered, have to serve as photo souvenirs.
Slow loris, macaws, various big cats, turtles, lemurs, various species of monkeys and many more – many of them are endangered species.
The providers themselves often cannot even name the species of the animals – in a study in Turkey the slow loris found were touted as lemur and sloth.
The sellers are probably not even aware that these animal species are all threatened and protected.
You can change something here – show your commitment to exotic animals in need!
-Under no circumstances should you accept offers with animals as a photo souvenir.
-Do not like or share pictures on social media that show people with “animal photo souvenirs”
-Point out the negative consequences of photo tourism to people around you and ask them not to take advantage of the offers and not to spread them.
And I mean…All over the world, animals are suffering as photo tourist attractions.
Sloths and parrots are captured in South America and young Barbary macaques in Morocco so that tourists pay for photos with the animals.
In Japan owls and in South Korea raccoons are used to attract visitors to animal cafes.
In Vietnam, turtles, snakes and other reptiles are very popular in cafes, while in Thailand foxes and meerkats are on display.
Who is interested in this tormenting circus?
And the visitors who are lied to, that the animals do it voluntarily and with fun;
This means that some earn money from cruelty to animals and many are lied to.
The question is: would visitors ever take part in this excruciating circus if they were fully informed?
Perhaps not, and that is why the cruel truth is hidden and the outrageous lie spread that the captive animals are happy to serve visitors.
There is hardly a wild animal that does not have to be used to entertain stupid tourists.
In addition to entering the zoo and selling souvenirs, petting baby tigers and predator selfies are guaranteed ways to make money.
Obviously, snapping a selfie with a wild animal is not as easy in the wild as it is in captivity.
That is why there are now more tigers in the shabby private zoos in the USA than in the wild in the world.
Thanks to everyone who doesn’t take part in this tormenting circus
My best regards to all, Venus