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US NewsThe cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers

05:55  14 april  2019
05:55  14 april  2019 Source:   vox.com

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You can take a selfie with a tiger for a couple bucks in some zoos around the US and the world. Northam’s approval rate especially took a hit, falling from 59 percent to 40 — which is 4 percent lower than President Trump’s approval rating, according to The cheap and shady business of taking

That is what tigers and lions do when they are living in the wild and going about their business . Over the course of the 2010s, taking a selfie cuddling a tiger became easier and cheaper than ever. “Posing next to a king of the jungle doesn’t make you one,” began a blog post on Tinder’s corporate

The cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers © Taylor Weidman/Getty Images A tourist poses for a picture with a tiger on July 25, 2014, at Tiger Kingdom in Mae Rim, Thailand.

You can take a selfie with a tiger for a couple bucks in some zoos around the US and the world. That doesn’t mean you should.

Tinder realized it had a tiger problem in the summer of 2017. Too many of its users were featuring photos of themselves crouched next to big cats like tigers and lions, animals that, had a random Tinder user approached them under normal circumstances, would probably try to eat them.

That is what tigers and lions do when they are living in the wild and going about their business. But the tigers “posing” with Tinder users weren’t roaming free; their handlers at zoos and entertainment venues had made them available for pics through sedation or other harmful practices. Over the course of the 2010s, taking a selfie cuddling a tiger became easier and cheaper than ever.

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The cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers . © Taylor Weidman/Getty Images A tourist poses for a picture with a tiger on July 25, 2014, at Tiger Kingdom in Mae Rim, Thailand. You can take a selfie with a tiger for a couple bucks in some zoos around the US and the world.

14 April at 10:24 ·. Please please please do not take selfies with lion, tiger , or bear cubs. The cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers .

“Posing next to a king of the jungle doesn’t make you one,” began a blog post on Tinder’s corporate site on July 28, 2017. “It’s time for the tiger selfies to go. More often than not, these photos take advantage of beautiful creatures that have been torn from their natural environment. Wild animals deserve to live in the wild.”

The cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers © Tigers of Tinder

The post was in response to a letter from PETA calling for a ban on tiger and lion selfies on the app. But while Tinder discouraged users from uploading them, it didn’t enact an outright ban. Two years later, Tinder is still brimming with possibly sedated, likely mistreated wild animals.

Although presumably those who take these kinds of photos might think that posing next to a lion will make them seem like moneyed adventurers, or “wanderlusters,” to use a Tinder term, the photos themselves are often taken in shady zoos, where the cost to get up close with a lion or tiger is barely more than an Uber fare.

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Please please please do not take selfies with lion, tiger , or bear cubs. The cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers .

THINK BEFORE YOU TAKE THESE SELFIES The cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers .

Zoos that allow tiger and lion encounters are often shady, and cheap

There’s a reason you can’t pay hundreds of dollars to bottle-feed the baby tiger cubs or pose with a lion at most reputable zoos: It’s because wildlife advocates have stressed for years that human encounters with big cats are both dangerous to humans and encourage the mistreatment of the animals.

Gallery: Incredible photos of animals in the wild (Espresso)

The cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers

The state of New York, for instance, banned direct contact between people and lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, and cougars in 2014, in a bill that eventually became known as the “Tiger selfie” law.

The bill was aimed at so-called “roadside zoos,” or small and largely unaccredited facilities where wild and exotic animals are kept in captivity, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund. These zoos can keep animals “small, dirty cages,” where they’re “fed inadequate food and denied medical care” but operate legally by taking advantage of lax state and federal laws.

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.. The ready availability of tigers for selfie opportunities might create the illusion that the cats are abundant. In reality, tigers are considered endangered With that in mind, Thompson reminds online daters that there’s no safe and ethical way to directly interact with tigers unless you're a zookeeper or

They’re often the same zoos that advertise experiences to take photos dangerously close to wild animals. Whether they’re located in the US or abroad, they tend to share certain qualities: Their websites are often sparse, broken, or amateurishly designed, and admission is often cheap. Cricket Hollow Animal Park in Manchester, Iowa, which advertises photos of guests holding baby wild cats and other animals on its Facebook page, charges just $5 for admission.

The cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers © Getty Close up view of a Siberian tiger

Despite the fact that it’s been hit with multiple legal setbacks, including a 182-page decision from the US Department of Agriculture to revoke its license, the animal park is still in business. That’s because it’s still perfectly legal in many states to keep tigers as pets.

It’s a similar story internationally. At Casela Park in Mauritius, petting cheetahs and lions inside their enclosures costs, respectively, about $20 or $25. At Indonesia’s Taman Safari Park, that cost is only a few dollars.

Few places in the world are as popular for tiger selfies as Thailand. More people are visiting — the Thai tourism council predicted a 5.5 percent increase in visitors for 2019 thanks to lowered visa barriers, bringing the total number of expected tourists to more than 40 million — which means more potential visitors to these zoos and animal parks. Despite a major crackdown on the infamous Tiger Temple in 2016, where wildlife officials confiscated 137 tigers and found freezers full of the carcasses of 40 cubs, as well as another 20 cubs floating in formaldehyde jars, the country’s tiger tourism sector is booming.

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The cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers . Foxes are very adaptable creatures and can be found throughout various regions. Although we provided our foxes with shaded areas within their enclosures, most prefer to dig their own burrows to escape the heat.

THINK BEFORE YOU TAKE THESE SELFIES The cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers . Loading seems to be taking a while. Twitter may be over capacity or experiencing a momentary hiccup.

Animal rights activists have long warned tourists against visiting them, but it hasn’t stopped places like Sriracha Tiger Zoo from offering tiger cub bottle-feeding and up-close photos with adult tigers for just 650 baht, or about $20.

At Tiger Kingdom in Phuket, prices vary based on the size and age of the tiger you’d like to take a picture with — premiums are given to the smallest and largest tigers. A photo and 10 minutes with a baby tiger is about $40, while the same time with the biggest tigers is $31. Small and medium-sized tiger photos cost $28. Information on the site informs visitors that they’re free to touch the tigers under the instruction of the tiger keeper.

It’s common for zoos like these to claim that they don’t sedate their animals. The Lujan Zoo outside Buenos Aires, Argentina, which at one point allowed its guests to ride and feed lions and bears for just $25 (its logo is a person touching a lion), told the International Business Times that they simply feed the animals before they interact with humans, and that the animals are raised with domestic dogs to learn “boundaries.”

Guests wrote on TripAdvisor, however, that the animals appeared “obviously sedated.” Though it’s difficult to know for certain whether or not an animal has been sedated, many videos taken at similar zoos show unusually groggy or tired lions and tigers posing with humans.

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The cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers . By Rebecca Jennings April 12. Returning online purchases is getting harder.

Visit Thailand and take a selfie with a big cat at the Tiger Temple, travel to Morocco and hold a monkey wearing a dress, or pose with a cute-looking reptile at a crocodile farm in Vietnam. While the animal visits provide an endless stream of Facebook and Instagram photos, they’re big business too.

Regardless of if they’re being given chemical sedation, it’s more than likely that if a zoo allows guests to hold or hug a wild animal, that its well-being has been compromised. It’s a point stressed by World Animal Protection (WAP), an organization which tracks animals in entertainment venues. Its research shows 62 percent of tiger selfies between 2014 to 2017 to be “bad” wildlife interactions, or ones that showed someone holding, hugging, or “inappropriately interacting” with the animal.

The organization also released a 2016 study on the Thai tiger tourism industry, which found that about 830 tigers were kept in entertainment venues in the country, a third more than just five years earlier. WAP attributes this to the rise in demand for tiger selfies on social media, and notes that the conditions in some Thai animal entertainment venues are bleak — tigers are housed in concrete cages with limited access to fresh water and consistently exposed to visitors and other stressors.

The cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers © Getty A Roman Catholic priest (L) blesses an Asian tiger with holy water on the eve of World Animal Day at Malabon Zoo in suburban Manila. The day began in Florence, Italy, in 1931 at a convention of ecologists, whose intention was to highlight the plight of endangered species and October 4 was chosen as the date because it is the feast day of nature lover Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment. / AFP / JAY DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Cub-petting tourist attractions are particularly exploitative. “People love getting their pictures taken with tiger cubs,” Angela Culver, media director of In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Educational Center in Texas told the BBC last year. “Often they are kept on a bottle too long to keep them artificially small, and malnourished so they can be more easily handled; then they are either sold off, used for breeding or euthanised unless a sanctuary steps in — it’s a vicious cycle.”

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APRIL 2019. Apr 12 | Vox: The Cheap and Shady Business of Taking Selfies with Tigers .

The Cheap and Shady Business of Taking Selfies with Tigers (Vox). Gerardo Huertas, Director of Disaster Management. Gerardo has worked at World Animal Protection since 1982. He has worked in some of the world’s fiercest disasters from warzones to natural, such as Haiti

And in the US, it may be worse: USDA guidelines only allow big cats to be pet and bottle-fed by visitors when they are between eight and 12 weeks old, which means that when they grow, they may be killed or given to rescue centers who are already overburdened.

“There are not enough accredited, high-quality sanctuaries in the US to rehome the volume of tigers bred here for commercial use,” explains Alesia Soltanpanah, US executive director at WAP, “including the many tigers that may be considered disposable by owners once they’re more than 12 weeks old.”

By all measures, this kind of tourism is only continuing to grow. Along with rising tourism rates as a whole, demand for wildlife tourism has risen in the past few years, which has translated to more animals being kept in entertainment venues. WAP estimated that as of 2016 there were up to 550,000 wild animals in tourist attractions, and that that number is even higher today.

The cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers © Rebecca Jennings

“Social media normalizes behavior that actually puts wildlife in jeopardy,” adds Soltanpanah. “The sharing of selfies and videos with wild animals like tigers unwittingly sends a message to thousands or even millions of people at a time that this activity is acceptable.”

Which, of course, make it even harder to stop. Besides Tinder’s call to remove tigers from its app and New York’s ban on big cat interactions, since 2017 Instagram has done its part by alerting users searching for hashtags like #tigerselfie that the content may be associated with harm to animals.

WAP hopes, however, that the public opinion will shift — despite increased demand for elephant rides and tiger selfies, the organization found a 9 percent drop in people who found elephant riding acceptable in 2017, down from 2014, and hopes that will translate to tiger selfies as well. Considering public backlash to the woman who broke into the jaguar enclosure to take a selfie at an Arizona zoo in March, it’s possible that opinions are already veering toward the side of the animals.

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