Costa Rica which has already won world plaudits for its environmental programs has launched a campaign to encourage visitors in search of encounters with nature to avoid taking “selfies” with wild animals.
Pamela Castillo, vice-minister Ministry of Environment and Energy said: "We want to prevent visitors from feeding (animals), not capture them for photography and not manipulate them. "
Local and foreign tourists visit the national parks of Costa Rica in search of taking pictures with monkeys, sloths or toucans.
The country became the first in the world to launch a campaign against “cruel or inappropriate selfies with wild animals,” said the ministry.
According to Castillo, this type of approach can generate “stress and suffering” in animals and even put tourists at risk, which led to the “ “stop selfies with animals” campaign
The ministry cited a study by the World Animal Protection organization according to which Costa Rica is the seventh country where “inappropriate” wildlife photos are taken most.
"The environmental and tourism sector come together to stop this practice and be an example in the world, motivating to avoid direct contact and selfies with wild animals in captivity or in their natural habitat when there is human manipulation," said the ministry.
Government surveys indicate that about 40% of foreign tourists visiting Costa Rica seek to know the flora and fauna of the country.