Costa Rica has launched a new #StopAnimalSelfies campaign to encourage responsible photography worldwide. The new campaign, which is a collaboration between the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) and Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) aims to raise awareness and educate tourists and locals on how to act and reduce the harmful impact of manipulating animals for photos, as well as how to conserve and respect the country’s wildlife.
The #StopAnimalSelfies campaign includes a code of “do’s and don’ts” and encourages the admiration of the country’s wildlife at a safe distance. It also discourages direct contact with wild animals. People can participate in the campaign by taking a selfie or photo with a stuffed animal and captioning it “I don’t mistreat animals to take a selfie” along with the hashtag #StopAnimalSelfies.
The “do’s and don’t’s” are:
- Keep a safe distance from the animal
- Watch quietly and respectfully
- Respect the animal’s natural behaviors
- Avoid entering cages or enclosures. The barrier is to protect me from direct contact with the animal.
- Don’t touch, hold or hug the animal
- Don’t offer food to the animal
- Don’t try to capture or chase the animal in order to get closer or have direct contact
- Don’t make noise, whistle, throw things or hit the barrier to try to make the animal move or wake up.
A study by World Animal Protection (WAP) in 2017 ranked Costa Rica as the seventh country worldwide for improper photographs and selfies with wildlife. Tourism officials said that Costa Rica aims to set an example for the rest of the world by encouraging people to avoid direct contact with wild animals that are being manipulated for photographs, whether in captivity or in their natural habitat, in keeping with the country’s commitment to sustainable development.