Save Sloths From Selfie-Obsessed Tourists

Target: Ricardo Salles, Minister of Brazil’s Ministry of the Environment

Goal: Stop exploitative practice of sloth selfies.

Once shunned and subject to negative stereotypes, sloths have gained fame among tourists in recent years…to their detriment. In South America, the leisurely animals are often the subject of overenthusiastic picture-taking, in which tourists hold, hug, and use them as makeshift props for selfies. Some unscrupulous entrepreneurs have even made a business out of the sloth selfie trade. These opportunists snatch the animals out of their forest homes and subject them to forced interactions with countless humans.

This onslaught of constant noise and manhandling can significantly traumatize the sloths, impairing their physical and emotional well-being. Eventually, the sloths may not even be able to survive in the wild any longer. The harm can become so substantial that entire organizations are dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating the animals with the goal of eventually reintroducing them to their native habitats.

Sign the petition below to demand one of the world’s main destinations for sloth selfies cracks down on this exploitative, abusive practice.


Dear Minister Salles,

The Brazilian Federal Constitution lays out punishable animal-related offenses as actions that “would risk the animals’ ecological functioning, cause their extinction, or subject animals to cruelty.” While some crimes (such as striking or killing an animal) clearly fall under the umbrella of abuse, other, less considered actions can prove just as damaging. The Brazilian Amazon is ground zero for one under-recognized form of animal cruelty: so-called “sloth selfies.”

These photographing endeavors may serve as cute picture-taking opportunities for tourists, but for the animals targeted, long-term harm can result. Stress from unrelenting noise and frequent handling can and often does damage the sloths’ health. Worse, the stressors may impair the animals’ ability to function in the wild. Entire industries are dedicated to removing sloths from their natural habitats and exploiting them. Likewise, an increasing number of organizations are fighting to reverse the lasting destruction caused by the sloth selfie trade. These rescuers need aid and support from the highest levels of government.

Please advocate for stronger prohibitions and penalties for this under-the-radar, pervasive form of animal cruelty. Protect one of Brazil’s most unique living beings from devastating exploitation.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Fernando Carniel

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