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Instagram issues abuse warnings over animal selfies

Remember the young dolphin that died after beachgoers took it from the sea to pose for photographs with it?

It was still being passed around by the crowd after its death and was later left discarded in the sand.

It is because of incidents like this that Instagram is cracking down on the trend of animal selfies which thousands of people post across social media each year.

Now, when a person searches for a hashtag for selfies that include wildlife such as koalas and monkeys, a message will pop-up on screen.

It will warn: “Animal abuse and the sale of endangered animals or their parts is not allowed on Instagram. You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behaviour to animals or the environment.”

It is not the first social media site to take action.

In July, Tinder urged its users to “take down your tiger pics” and pledged to donate $10,000 (£7,475) to tiger conservation in honour of International Tiger day.

Like Tinder, Instagram is not banning the selfies or asking users to take them down, but said it is working with the World Wildlife Fund, TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring network) and World Animal Protection to clampdown on exploitation.

It said: “The protection and safety of the natural world are important to us and our global community.

“We encourage everyone to be thoughtful about interactions with wild animals and the environment to help avoid exploitation and to report any photos and videos you may see that may violate our community guidelines.

“We are committed to fostering a safer, kinder world both on Instagram and beyond the app.”

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