Everyone loves sloths, and that has led to a huge black market in their capture for use in "safari selfies," where eco-tourists travel to exotic locales and pose for social media posts with local fauna.
National Geographic documented some of the widespread animal suffering caused by safari selfies in the Amazon basin:
Sloths sleep for up to 20 hours a day, and their seemingly calm, docile personalities make them easy to capture, transport, and handle. The stress of these experiences can lead to their premature deaths. The loggers sold the sloth for $13 at a market in the port town of Iquitos, known as a hotspot for the illegal wildlife trade. The sloth was likely sold into either the pet trade, or the tourism "selfie" trade.
It's part of a larger report
on the harms caused by wildlife tourism:
Some social media platforms are banning selfies with endangered species like tiger cubs and koalas, and some are experimenting with popups that appear when certain hashtags. Perhaps education and making these practices seem uncool might reduce the environmental impact.
• Witness the Harrowing Capture of a Wild Sloth for the Black Market (YouTube / National Geographic)
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