Put down the selfie stick and step away from the koala.
Instagram will begin to issue warnings about taking selfies with animals.
HuffPost reports that starting this week, if you search for common hashtags associated with photos of humans posing with wildlife-for example, #lionselfie-you will be notified that these images generally have some sordid connections.
An Instagram representative tells the Huffington Post that "hundreds of hashtag combinations" will now trigger a warning advising users about the problems of wildlife exploitation.
The message is targeted at tourists who take photos with wild animals like lions, sloths and elephants as part of the "wildlife selfies" trend, embraced by celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Ariana Grande, Justin Timberlake and many others. The photo sharing service has introduced new pop-up warnings that will appear when searching for hashtags commonly used to share images of animal exploration and abuse. "I think it's important for the community right now to be more aware".
According to WAP numerous animals who tourists take photos with are stolen from their natural habitat and are then kept in cramped conditions and passed around from tourist to tourist, causing them extreme stress. "We're trying to do our part to educate them".
"Wild animals are being taken from their mothers as babies and secretly kept in filthy, cramped conditions or repeatedly baited with food causing severe psychological trauma just so tourists can get photo".
Certain animals could be harmed by all the selfie-taking.
The message is a response to research conducted by WAP that shows a 292% increase in the number of wildlife selfies posted on Instagram since 2014.
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