If you’re hoping to impress potential hookups with tiger pictures, we’ve got bad news.
Tinder is asking its users to refrain from “tiger selfies,” and they’ve actually got a pretty good reason. According to the Australian arm of animal-rights group PETA, the photos are harmful to the animals.
Apparently, tiger selfies have grown in popularity over the past few years, but many trainers use questionable practices in order to keep tourists safe around the big cats. What’s more, the tigers may have thrived in the wild, but instead, they’re forced to take pictures with trendy Tinder hipsters.
“Baby tigers and other animals used at photo attractions are typically torn away from their distraught mothers when they’re just days old and then subjected to extreme stress and physical abuse,” a PETA representative wrote in an open letter to the founder of Tinder. “Once they’ve grown larger and are too dangerous to handle, they end up being locked away in cages or heavily sedated.”
That’s a big deal, especially because scientists believe that there are fewer than 3,900 tigers left in the wild. Tigers have gone virtually extinct in several countries including Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. While some Tinder users might think that they’re helping by snapping pics with their favorite animal, they could be doing more harm than good.
The letter convinced Tinder to speak out against the practice.
“It’s time for the tiger selfies to go,” the company wrote on its blog. “More often than not, these photos take advantage of beautiful creatures that have been torn from their natural environment. Wild animals deserve to live in the wild. PETA says now is the time to rid the platform of tiger photos in honor of International Tiger Day on
The company then asked users to take down their tiger selfies, noting the surprising popularity of the practice.
“We are looking to you, as part of our Tinder community, to make a change. Take down your tiger photos, and we will make it worth your while by donating $10,000 to Project Cat in honor of International Tiger Day.”
Tinder goes on to suggest that users show their commitment to the environment by posting photos volunteering at animal shelters, planting trees, walking to work, and “enjoying a summer sesame falafel bowl at your favorite vegan eatery.”
While that last suggestion is obviously tongue in cheek, the others are pretty solid.
Of course, if you’re really, really into the idea of posting a profile photo with an animal, you might consider fish. A Twitter account called @HoldenFisch shows various users holding—well, you can pretty much figure out the rest.
We’re not saying that this is a super ecologically friendly way to go, but it’s certainly better than posting tiger selfies. Plus, you can always put the fish back in the water, and you’re much less likely to suffer a mauling at the hands (fins?) of a catfish. Regardless, we’re behind the #NoTigerSelfies movement. As Tinder points out, “posing next to a king of the jungle doesn’t make you one.”