The best (and worst) kinds of animal selfies

Have you noticed the recent animal selfie trend? People worldwide are going out of their way to pose with animals—sometimes endangered, sometimes even dangerous predators—and post the resulting photos to Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #animalselfie.

Just check out these amazing shots taken by adventurer Allan Dixon, who seems able to convince any wild animal to pose for a selfie with him. But, as he cautions in an interview with Bored Panda, people must be “very careful not to upset or provoke the animal when they’re trying to take the picture.”

Not surprisingly, animal selfies are getting tons of attention and likes—but also a lot of backlash. Some animals have been harmed by desperate humans seeking the “perfect” photo, such as the La Plata dolphin that recently became beached and died because bystanders were too busy passing it around for photos to actually help it back into the ocean. Or the “world’s saddest polar bear,” who suffers in a Chinese mall while endless selfies are snapped. As Artemis Grey points out in a thought-provoking article for The I.C.A.R.U.S. Foundation:

As tempting as it might be to scoop up a baby animal (or adorable adult, or awesome looking animal) for “just one photo” you have to understand that your actions will have an impact on that animal, and that animals do not perceive such things the way a human might. For them, being held against their will is emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically, damaging.

Proponents argue some animal selfies can actually raise awareness in a positive way for endangered species (see Leonardo DiCaprio’s orangutan selfie below). And they can, when done right—as Chris Wilson, developer of the Tiger Selfie app, discovered: The app lets you take any picture and then place a tiger in the photo. The best part: A message then appears, saying, “Looks cute, until you learn that cubs are ripped from their moms at birth and, when too big to pet, spend the rest of their lives in tiny cages.” It then asks the user to share the selfie to help stop the abuse. Genius!

We must always remember there is a difference between being respectful of the animal vs. being exploitative. I suggest we all use our common sense and be careful and thoughtful before photographing an unwilling creature. But I’m pretty sure your dog or cat will think it’s OK! 🙂

Here are some adorable #animalselfies sure to bring a smile to your face, including one of me and my horse, Kodiak, earlier today in beautiful Sonoma, California:

No foxes were harmed in the taking of this selfie:

Post your selfie here with your best fur friend!

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Kathleen Prasad

Kathleen Prasad is an entrepreneur, author, educator, spiritual seeker and animal advocate living in beautiful Marin County, California, with her husband, daughter, dog and two horses. She loves being with animals, listening to hip-hop, eating out at vegan restaurants, riding dressage, hiking in the redwoods and traveling the world to meet animal people.
You can learn more about Kathleen here.

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