Not again. Another animal — this time a baby dolphin — dies in the name of the perfect tourist selfie on beaches.
Argentinean paper La Capital reported that last Sunday, a tourist mob dragged the dolphin from the waters of San Bernardo, located around 200 miles south of Buenos Aires. A crowd can be seen in a YouTube video standing or kneeling around the small one, petting it.
Animals As Photo Props
“They let him die,” an observer quoted in the news report told TV channel C5N, saying the crowd could have returned the dolphin to the water while he was still breathing.
“But everyone started taking photos and touching him. They said he was already dead,” the witness added.
This isn’t the first time such incident occurred in Argentina. In February last year, a La Plata dolphin, an endangered one, was killed on a Santa Teresita beach when it was passed around until dying of dehydration.
The group World Animal Protection, in an email statement sent to the Huffington Post, called it a “tragic and senseless death,” where some are focused on getting animal selfies rather than the creature’s welfare.
“It is so disappointing to see yet again how wild animals are treated cruelly as photo props,” they said.
Elizabeth Hogan of the group’s campaign manager for U.S. Oceans & Wildlife warned that being out of water can be a dangerous situation for dolphins. Their bodies are not designed for land, and prolonged exposure to it can pose problems of heat and their own body weight, which is buoyed by the ocean but not supported when beached on land, she explained.
A dolphin’s blubber, Hogan added, keeps its temperature regulated in the water but leads them to overheat fast when out of the environment.
Animal Selfies, Videos On Social Media
Back in February, a local Florida beachgoer was caught on video dragging a small shark out of the ocean, where it was thought to have been washed ashore.
In a video filmed at Palm Beach, the man was seen approaching the defenseless shark, then grabbing it by its tail and proceeding to drag it along the sand further into the shore. The man managed to have other people take his photo with the animal.
According to National Geographic, social media has changed the game such that exotic animals appear adorable, with animal suffering not captured on the images. On YouTube and other social media platforms, wild animals like raccoon dogs and endangered slow lorises have risen to fame through their staged poses and interaction with humans.
The animals face grave danger when people heighten their pet appeal and paint a picture that they are safe and fun to be around, the news outlet went further, calling for everyone to leave wild animals alone in their space.
A 2011 study revealed that humans tended to think of chimpanzees as wonderful pets if they saw images of the animals standing next to a person, while another research demonstrated that around 10 percent of 12,000 comments on a viral pygmy slow loris video cited they wanted it as a pet.