In just one week, there have been reports of three animals that died or almost died at the hands of tourists trying to capture the perfect selfie: first, the baby dolphin in an Argentinian beach, then a shark that was dragged from the sea in Florida, and now a peacock that died from shock thanks to tourists at a Chinese zoo. These acts take selfies to a whole other level of self-absorption and egomania. Do we value the attention we get on social media that much that we are willing to jeopardize the life of an innocent being??
I just cannot understand how a picture with a beautiful—sometimes vulnerable or near-endangered—animal could be seen as more important than the life itself. Sure, take a photo of it, but don’t pick it up or remove it from its natural habitat just to have a souvenir or a bunch of Likes on Facebook.
These wild animals don’t want to be in your stinkin’ selfie, and whatever attention you get for that one photo is fleeting and meaningless. It’s definitely not worth an animal’s life—or yours (unless you happen to be one of those people who killed an animal for the sake of a photo).
People who try to take pictures with wild animals are also putting their own safety and lives at risk. Last July, a woman suffered injuries after she and her daughter tried to take a selfie with a bison in Yellowstone Park. They turned their back to the bison that was six yards away, and although they heard the bison approaching them, it was too late: the bison tossed her like a rag doll with its head.
Another incident at the same park involved a 16-year-old Taiwanese girl who was gored by a bison while trying to have her photo taken with the it near the geyser Old Faithful. And another selfie-related animal attack occurred after a 62-year-old Australian man took pictures within five feet of a bison.
The moral of the story: wild animals are wild. Enjoy them from a distance. Do not touch them unless you don’t mind being mauled or bitten by one. It won't make for a very good photo though. Plus, these animals’ lives are infinitely more important than a vapid selfie.
Oh, and another thing: According to Conde Nast Traveler, more people have died from selfie-related accidents worldwide in 2015 than from shark attacks. Now that should really make us think twice before taking a selfie—is it really worth anyone’s life?