Categories: captive wild cats

Tiger selfies are a sad, bad fad

Big cat selfies are bad. They are bad for the cat and they’re bad for the person. They are exploitative of the cat, in my opinion. This sort of subtle demeaning of captive wildlife further undermines wildlife conservation. It undermines the integrity of the magnificent big cats, as if putting them into cages wasn’t enough.

You may have heard about the tiger-selfie fad which is a product of Internet websites such as Instagram, in which men take photographs of themselves next to a powerful tiger or lion to try and impress a woman.  It’s sad but it’s a fad nonetheless and it has to stop because it’s bad.

New York has banned tiger selfies. What this actually means is that New York has banned photographs of a person next to a tiger, lion, leopard or jaguar – one of the big cats.

The new law which was signed in this week by Gov Andrew Cuomo and it prohibits direct contact between members of the public and big cats at travelling animal shows and fairs.  If the law is breached exhibitors of animals will face fines for each breach.

Not only are big cat selfies bad for conservation they are also dangerous for the person taking the photograph. It appears, however, that the new legislation is an accident in respect of its prohibition on big cat selfies.

This is because the people who made the law hadn’t heard of big cat selfies when they drafted it.  All they wanted to do was to place restrictions and regulations upon the travelling animal show business in New York.

In the USA, annually, there are a notable number of attacks by big cats in private zoos upon people, often children which largely go unreported or if they are reported they are not high profile.  It would seem to me that some people choose to disregard the potential danger of being in close contact with a big cat.

I presume this law includes big cat cubs too. I am no sure. Certainly cubs need protecting from exploitation.

Other states such as Mississippi, Arizona and Kansas already have such legislation on their statute books.

As it happens, women generally like to see men being tender with a domestic cat or kitten. It is a far more subtle way of attracting a woman’s attention than the overtly macho posturing of the “tiger selfie”.

How do I know that? Well, the photographs of fireman who have been involved with rescuing a kitten or a cat from a burning home are often drooled over by the female of the species. Men should remember that!

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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