It’s just not sinking in.
Wild animals are not photo props.
And yet the pictures keep pouring.
Over in Chile, two women came across a 20-metre blue whale washed up on the shore in a town near Punta Arenas.
Seeing such a magnificent, endangered creature dead on the sand is a devastating sight. One deserving of grief and respect. But these women decided it was a prime photo opportunity.
They perched themselves on top of the whale, and posed for a photo for Instagram.
Una ballena azul de 21 Mts varo en el sector de Punta Delgada, a 117 kms de Punta Arenas, el cetáceo estaba rayado con dedicatorias, cortes profundos en su piel y dos mujeres fotografiándose encima de su cuerpo #RespetoAnimal pic.twitter.com/l3GoWuSShq
— Rodrigo Saavedra (@rodrigo_sm) February 18, 2018
Gabriela Garrido, a researcher at the Museum of Natural History Río Seco, told local newspaper La Nación that she saw about 50 people clambering on the whale to take photos of themselves with its corpse.
“I was shocked to see this situation of lack of control… I had a lot of anger, a lot of impotence,” Garrido said.
Barriers were later set up around the animal’s body by the Chilean navy – but not before someone managed to carve letters into its skin.
It’s nauseating. And it propelled a story from a small town in South America to become international news, drawing understandable anger from people around the world.
PETA spokeswoman Emma Hurst told Mamamia the behaviour promoted a disregard for life.
“Photos such as this are designed for shock value and show a tremendous lack of respect for animals. There’s sadness, not humour, in the death of others,” Hurst said.
“With boundless humane opportunities for amusement, it speaks volumes that such people get a thrill from mocking the death of such highly intelligent animals.”
What is even more frustrating is that this is only the latest in a long series of incidents in which humans transform into jerks in their quest to achieve the edgiest Instagram selfie.
In August last year, a baby dolphin died after it was found by tourists in Spain. Its weak and wriggling body was passed around for selfies until it couldn’t survive any longer.