March 17, 2018

Hundreds of Instagram hashtags will now trigger animal abuse alerts

06 December 2017, 01:44 | Lucia Cruz

Image Instagram

Image Instagram

Put down the selfie stick and step away from the koala. Instagram is sending a message against the behavior that pops up if users click on hashtags like #koalaselfie or #tigerpet.

Instagram wants to protect the world's wildlife from an existential threat: selfies.

'You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behaviour to animals or the environment'.

The move comes not long after a group of high-profile conservation photographers launched their Photographers Against Wildlife Crime project in an effort to combat animal exploitation.

Thousands of photos with the flagged hashtags, which relate to animals including tigers, lions and turtles, feature on Instagram.

World Animal Protection has previously petitioned Instagram to include more about wild animal abuse in Instagram's user guidelines. "I think it's important for the community right now to be more aware".

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It may be harmless to snap a picture with a furry friend, but many exotic animals are cruelly and illegally captured from their habitats.

"They can be kept in poor conditions by people who are just trying to make a buck", Allan said.

Certain animals could be harmed by all the selfie-taking.

But this trend is fuelling a rise in wild animals being snatched by irresponsible tour operators, according to the World Animal Protection (WAP) charity.

Instagram doesn't plan on revealing all of the hashtags associated with the message so that users can stumble upon it during their searches.

A stranded baby dolphin washed up on a beach in Spain famously died of dehydration in August after crowds descended to touch it and take pictures.

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