A disturbing image has been circulating around social media, and it basically summarizes our society's disrespectful view of wild animals. A baby dolphin was killed after being taken out of the ocean by tourists to be used a prop for selfies. Even though dolphins are mammals, being out of water for extended periods of time can lead to dehydration, which is exactly what happened to the calf as it was being passed around by tourists. The reality of this situation raises the question: is the way our society treats and interacts wild animals acceptable?
When asked about the situation, a spokesperson for the Australian Branch of World Animal Protection said "Wild animals are not toys or props. They should be appreciated - and left alone - in the wild where they belong." Many national reserves, like Yellowstone National Park, are beginning to hand out pamphlets explaining not to get close to the wild animals due to incidents involving attempted selfies that have lead to human injury. It is important for tourists to understand that interacting with animals in their natural habitats is not a game and can lead to death or injury.
With amusement parks, like SeaWorld, that exploit animals for the entertainment of humans, it's easy for society to blur the lines of what animal mistreatment really is. Many people seem to have this preconceived image of animal mistreatment as malnourished pets, but it is much more than that. In a compelling video named Human World, Remi Gaillard manages to reverse the roles of whales to show humans the ridicule and torture that places like SeaWorld put their animals through. Although Gaillard uses comedy in his video, he still manages to share an important message with his viewers; one that can help many people understand the harsh reality of the different kinds of animal abuse.
While documentaries like "Blackfish" tend to get backlash for overdramatizing the condtions of animal treatment at SeaWorld, the facts remain: animals are being exploited for human entertainment and profits with disregard for how they would live in their natural habitat. In a society that tends to lean towards narcissism when it comes to selfie taking, it's not only heartbreaking but slightly pathetic to realize how things can go wrong when trying to gain likes on Instagram. The death of an innocent, rare dolphin calf should be a wake-up call for our world. We should be treating our wild animals with more appreciation and respect rather than as props for our sheer entertainment.