Instagram is cracking down on wildlife selfies

SULAWESI or CRESTED BLACK MACAQUE David J Slater  Caters News Agency

SULAWESI or CRESTED BLACK MACAQUE David J Slater Caters News Agency

When you search for koala selfies on Instagram, you'll find more than 3,000 of them that utilize #koalaselfie as a hashtag. In 2012, Instagram banned accounts, images and hashtags dedicated to "glorifying, promoting or encouraging self-harm", such as "Thinspiration" photos that depict extremely thin women to encourage users to lose weight.

While users looking to browse images already posted under the hashtags will be presented with the warning, they won't be warned if they attempt to upload a picture using the hashtag. But the warnings will only appear if you use specific hashtags.

"You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behavior to animals or to the environment", the warning reads in part, alongside a link to more information about wildlife exploitation.

Animal protection groups have been warning people for some time about the industries that support animal selfies and the abuse suffered by the monkeys, koalas, and tigers posing in them.

Getty Images
Getty Images

The company isn't revealing all the hashtags associated with the message in the hope that some of its 800 million users will stumble on it organically.

Wildlife selfies on social media is a growing phenomenon. The presence of these types of images has skyrocketed 292 percent on social media since 2014, according to World Animal Protection. In August, a baby dolphin died in Spain while being passed around by tourists to take a selfie.

A large group of picture-taking tourists disrupted sea turtles from laying their eggs in Costa Rica is September 2015, while two peacocks died of fright at zoo in China previous year after they were roughly handled by visitors.

Instagram officials said in a statement that the protection and safety of the natural world is "important to us and our global community". "I think it's important for the community right now to be more aware". The campaign brought much-needed attention to how taking selfies with wild animals is anything but cute and 250,000 people signing the organization's pledge. In fact, the socialite, Paris Hilton, posted one a week ago. The worse part is that tourists do not know if the attractions they're visiting treat the animals well or not. Kardashian and her half-sister, model Kendal Jenner, are also regular visitors to the Black Jaguar-White Tiger animal rescue foundation, which houses exotic animals including pumas, lions and jaguars.

Willie Taggart Leaving Oregon For Seminoles
Tiffany Haddish Discusses Putting Barbra Streisand On To Cardi B