Carolina Tiger Rescue is a 501(c)3 nonprofit wildlife sanctuary whose mission is saving and protecting wild cats in captivity and in the wild.
Notice the decline of tiger selfies on dating app Tinder? Yep, that was a thing.
What about the advisory screen when you search for certain wildlife-related hashtags on Instagram? Or the fact that you can’t purchase tickets for experiences that exploit wild animals on TripAdvisor?
Global brands are doing their part to protect animals and educate others about the changes they can make to impact wildlife, too. Last month, USC-Aiken banned animal circuses, joining more than 600 venues and communities across the nation that have stood up for animals in entertainment. This is what advocacy is about, and we recognize the actions of these companies and communities as a step in a positive direction.
Tinder users were posting selfies with tigers to attract more dates. In July 2017, Tinder wrote a blog urging its users to remove tiger selfies and created the hashtag #NoTigerSelfies.
“More often than not, these photos take advantage of beautiful creatures that have been torn from their natural environment,” read part of Tinder’s issued statement. “Wild animals deserve to live in the wild.”
Carolina Tiger Rescue’s core values couldn’t agree more with Tinder’s statement on tiger selfies, as we believe these wild cats should live in their native habitats.
Tinder, which pledged $10,000 to Project Cat to honor last year’s International Tiger Day, mentioned that the tigers could unfortunately be drugged for photo opportunities.
This is Carolina Tiger Rescue resident Caprichio Tiger, who was exploited in the cub-petting industry when he was young.
In December of last year, Instagram began notifying users who searched for wildlife-related hashtags of the possible abuse that made the photo possible. Users who click through are then sent to a help page, which accurately describes interactions with wild animals as wildlife exploitation.
People may not realize how harmful their actions are when they decide to take a photo with a tiger cub. It’s a dark and unkind system for the animal, which can only be used for up to 12 weeks for profit. What happens then? We are home to several resident tigers who were exploited for cub-petting and photo ops, and these animals are living with the scars of exploitation. They were fortunate to make it to a federally-defined sanctuary but many others are not so lucky.
As we continue celebrating International Tiger Day, we encourage you to make simple changes and sound decisions that will make life better for tigers around the world!