Why your next selfie with a koala may trigger an Instagram warning

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Instagram has announced it will now issue animal cruelty warnings on selfies with exotic animals.

Facebook's photo-sharing app on Tuesday began singling out hashtags like #SlothSelfie and #koalaSelfie, alerting users with pop-up messages that exotic animals appearing in tourist photo-ops are often subjected to abuse. The user is also given the opportunity to bypass the warning and look photos under the hashtags anyway.

Instagram is trying to combat wildlife exploitation.

WAP chief executive Steve McIvor said: "We congratulate Instagram on taking this important step towards educating its users about wild animals that are suffering for selfies".

Fiercer beasts such as tigers and lions often are de-clawed and have their teeth removed or dulled to make them less of a threat to Instagram-happy tourists, says Crawford Allan of the World Wildlife Fund.

"You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behaviour to animals or the environment".

"Posing next to a king of the jungle doesn't make you one", Tinder said in a post at the time.

Instagram is cracking down on people using its platform to share pictures of themselves with wild animals, to raise awareness of the abuse many creatures paraded around for picture purposes suffer.

"Wild animals are being taken from their mothers as babies and secretly kept in filthy, cramped conditions or repeatedly baited with food causing severe psychological trauma just so tourists can get photo".

Instagram also has policed content for other topics including suicide, self-harm and eating disorders.

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