Costa Rica innovates and becomes the first country to launch a campaign to eliminate the incidence of cruel or inappropriate selfies with wild animals, as well as their negative effects and the risks involved; it is the #stopanimalselfies campaign.
A study conducted by World Animal Protection (WAP) in 2017 placed Costa Rica as the country number 7 in the world in inadequate photographs and selfies with wildlife.
Thus, committed to the country’s nature of conserving biodiversity and protecting wildlife, the environmental and tourism sector unites to stop this practice and once again, be an example in the world, motivating to avoid direct contact and selfies with wild animals in captivity or in their natural habitat, when there is human manipulation for that purpose.
The launch of this campaign is consistent with the development model of Costa Rica, which is a pioneer in biodiversity conservation and has legislation that declares wild animals as the heritage of all Costa Ricans, part of our natural treasures, whose beauty attracts thousands of tourists each year.
More than 64% of the people who visit our country do so for activities directly related to ecotourism.
We are a leading country in environmental issues and one of the few countries in the world with regulations that prohibit this type of practices, which is why the Minae, with support from the ICT, undertook a process of inter-institutional coordination with support from non-governmental organizations and private companies in the tourism sector to develop the campaign #stopanimalselfies, which seeks to sensitize all people who love nature to take action and reduce the negative effects on the conservation of species of these cruel practices.
In this regard, the Vice Minister of Environment, Pamela Castillo, said that the Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae) are aware that the country as a world leader in nature conservation is committed to promoting responsible practices to procure the health and conservation of wildlife species, which is why to promote the change of behaviors harmful to wildlife is launched a communication campaign, awareness, and education in conjunction with the tourism sector, allowing better citizens around the world, who respect and value wildlife.
“Direct contact with wild animals can pose a risk to people and cause stress and suffering to wildlife. Animals can also carry diseases or be infected with human-transmitted pathogens, so caution is needed when observing them in their natural habitat or sanctuaries and respecting their natural behaviors. This contact with wild animals puts at risk the people who visit us from inside and outside the country, so we must maintain a prudent distance,” he added.
Selfies with wild animals in direct contact is affecting our species, these practices are cruel to wildlife and affect wild populations and their conservation not only in Costa Rica but throughout the world.
In this regard, the National Geographic magazine of June 2019, presents a series of cases and evidence of the cruelty associated with businesses that affect wildlife and put tourism at risk on a global scale, leaving evidence of a cruel, irresponsible business.
“The campaign aims to raise awareness about the proper treatment that a sustainable tourism destination should guarantee wild animals and those who approach them as visitors. Stop Animal Selfies has the support of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute as a valuable contribution to the country’s model of sustainable tourism development. In addition, the campaign watches over the country’s fauna, which is one of our greatest attractions and is consistent with our interest in the safety of domestic and foreign tourists,” said Maria Amalia Revelo, Minister of Tourism of Costa Rica.
According to the survey conducted by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute to non-residents, during the period between 2016 and 2018, almost 40% of foreign tourists indicated that the observation of flora and fauna was one of their main motivations to come to Costa Rica.
For his part, Roberto Vieto, Wildlife Manager of World Animal Protection said: “We congratulate the government of Costa Rica for leading one of the most ambitious initiatives and promoting responsible tourism in the region and the world. We would like to see more countries take this kind of action and show the same degree of responsibility to protect animals by conducting animal-friendly campaigns. Tourists who visit these places are not aware of the cruelty they suffer.”
However, does this mean I cannot take selfies with wild animals?
Of course you can, but do it properly;