Global campaigners decry wildlife cruelty on social media platforms

2021-07-01 16:56:04 GMT2021-07-02 00:56:04(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

NAIROBI, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The display of iconic wildlife species on social media platforms for entertainment has exposed them to new forms of physical and emotional cruelty, international campaigners said Thursday.

Edith Kabesiime, Wildlife Campaigns manager at World Animal Protection Africa Office, decried rampant posting of videos of captured wildlife on social media, saying it threatens survival of endangered species.

"There is no doubt that the animals in these videos will have suffered from injuries and severe psychological trauma. The filming of both prey and predator has implications for animal welfare," Kabesiime said in a statement released in Nairobi.

She said that regulating content on social media combined with heightened vigilance among citizens and law enforcement agencies is key to combating illegal filming of wildlife species for entertainment.

Researchers from World Animal Protection in a report titled "Views that Abuse" said that more than 180 videos depicting fake animal rescues were posted on social media platforms from October 2018 to May 2021.

According to the report, 70 videos were uploaded in 2021 alone, signifying an upsurge in cruelty against wildlife species including reptiles, birds, primates and carnivores for entertainment purposes.

"The videos most frequently feature chickens, dogs, and monitor lizards," says the report, adding that 50 most viewed fake videos were uploaded from 28 different channels, resulting in 13 million subscribers, more than 133 million views and half 1 million likes.

The view on the abuse report says that cruel videos of concern that have gone viral in the recent past depict animals fighting each other, humans either hunting, torturing or eating live animals. It says a disturbing trend has emerged where some animals like cats and dogs are placed near predators including snakes and crocodiles for staged rescue by humans.

"These cruel contrived videos can result in serious long-term negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of animals. It also raises conservation concerns and severe public health risks," says the report.

Nick Stewart, Global head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection, said that social media giants have a responsibility to promote welfare of wildlife by censuring content that depicts iconic species in a cruel manner. Enditem