Katy Perry recently found herself in a bit of hot water after what might seem like a harmless selfie. But to her animal advocate fans – it was anything but lighthearted.
The popular pop singer recently took a trip down to Mexico and decided to visit the Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation (BJWT). While at the supposed ‘sanctuary,’ Katy took selfies while holding baby tigers and jaguars and posted to them to Instagram (now deleted, although there is still a video on the BJWT account). Let’s just say that she didn’t get the response she expected.
The problem is – animal welfare advocates claim that BJWT is a ‘fake’ sanctuary and doesn’t carry out the mission that they boast to the public. Instead of rescuing big cats from circuses, illegal breeding, and the exotic pet trade, they are actually exploiting the animals for selfie and celeb photo ops. Babies are often taken away from their moms just for this purpose.
“Fake wildlife venues such as Black Jaguar White Tiger prop up this sordid entertainment industry,” Cassandra Koenen, of World Animal Protection, told The Dodo. “Don’t be duped by pseudo sanctuaries.”
While Katy may not have known about the sanctuary’s dubious claims, it’s important for people to know that if selfie opportunities are being promoted with baby exotic animals – chances are, there’s some sort of abuse involved.
Baby cubs aren’t just taken away from their moms for this exploitative act, but often times they’re bred specifically for this purpose. Once they become too big to pose with tourists or celebrities, they are often moved to cages where they are bred for babies and the cycle heartbreakingly continues. They may even be euthanized.
Although Katy might be a bit embarrassed about her selfies now, it will hopefully bring awareness to her fans and the public as to what a real, genuine animal sanctuary really is. A legit sanctuary does not open their doors to the public and allow contact with the exotic animals.
Instagram has even taken notice of the issue of animal exploitation and has started blocking pictures with certain hashtags – like #tigerselfie, #slothselfie or even #blackjaguarwhitetiger.
If a person attempts to post a picture with these hashtags, a warning will pop up saying, “Animal abuse and the sale of endangered animals or their parts are not allowed on Instagram.”
Although Instagram has taken a step forward in helping protect the exploitation and abuse of exotic animals, other platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, have not yet started banning these types of selfies.
“Our love for selfies has changed the lives of wild animals forever — the explosive trend on social media is driving the suffering and exploitation of some of the world’s most iconic animals,” Koenen said. “So it’s heartbreaking to see yet another celebrity posing with a wild animal and further fueling this suffering.”
Katy, however, isn’t the only celeb to visit Black Jaguar White Tiger.
Other famous celebrities that have taken pictures with exotic animals at BJWT include Khloe Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Kaley Cuoco, Kendall Jenner, The Backstreet Boys, and Lance Bass.
World Animal Protection is trying their best to prevent these types of sanctuaries from existing. Their website says:
“We end the needless suffering of animals
We influence decision makers to put animals on the global agenda
We help the world see how important animals are to all of us
We inspire people to change animals’ lives for the better
We move the world to protect animals.”
What do you think about Katy’s selfie? Harmless or dangerous? To learn more about the work of World Animal Protection, visit their website.
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H/T: The Blast