When it comes to social media, we have all heard the catch phrases of “trending”; “selfies” etc. But this latest trend leaves me cold with disgust and volcanic with anger. There seems to be this growing trend where animals are being plucked from their natural environment and used as selfie-props, in blatant disregard of the well-being of the animals. How many more animals have to be tortured and killed, all for an egotistical boost on social media, before something is done? How many more animals need to suffer before there is a miraculous mind-shift in our ever trendy humanity?

Today, I once again find myself disturbed to my core, having just read a report of an endangered Loggerhead Turtle, being violated by a group of inhumane humans in Beirut. Once they pulled this gentle creature from its territory, they proceeded to stand on it, posing for selfies whilst holding it up or pinning it down like a trophy. But why stop the torture there? The cruel and callous group then began to beat the defenceless animal with sticks. I mean seriously, what in the name of goodwill were these beasts thinking? Thanks to a brave bystander who called the authorities, the turtle was rescued just in the nick of time. X-rays show that these blows had cracked the poor turtle’s skull, which prevents her from diving, because water now rushes through her skull and into her sinus cavities. She is also reportedly struggling to chew.

This report follows hot on the heels of another disturbing report, where hotel staff dragged a beautiful Blue Shark from the sea in the Dominican Republic. After pushing its big-eyed head into the sand so it couldn’t defend itself, the group posed for photographs in their mucho glory. Their barbaric bravado caused the senseless death of this sleek shark. And for what? To look cool on social media and to get a few extra “Likes”.

Oh, and let’s not forget our hero who dragged a shark onto a Florida beach in February. Social media shows photos of this man pulling in his stomach, puffing out his chest and showing off his man-bun, whilst pinning the suffocating shark into the sand. All of this just to get the perfect photo to brag with.

I ask myself whether our current trend of living our lives, and our relationships, through our computers and phones, has caused a far deeper dissociation from the emotional aspects of life, than we initially thought. It would appear that the respect and the sacredness of life is disappearing fast. We are becoming so disconnected, not just from our fellow humans, but quite obviously from nature and ourselves too.

So what is the price of a few fake “likes”? What is the price of gaining your moment of social media glory? I mean let’s face it, in the world of social media, you have to capture your audience in those first vital seconds, or their eyes will glaze over and they will move on. So I understand that people will go further and push harder, in order to get the reactions they crave from their “friends”. But in the same breath, people’s memories have become goldfish-like and your mean, mindless act of interrogating a wild animal, would be forgotten by the time they scroll down to the next post. Personally, I am outraged, disturbed and very concerned about this latest trend. How about you; Are you willing to kill in order to be “liked”?

Inge Altona-De Klerk