The selfie craze has led to people resorting to all sorts of silly — and even dangerous — stunts to get that “awesome” picture and win bragging rights on social media.
Among the various fads that caught on recently was one in which a person poses with a tiger or any other big jungle cat, showing off to the world how brave and adventurous he or she is.
Such pictures have become especially popular on dating sites such as Tinder as men try to impress potential partners with bold profile pictures.
In an article in May, the Wall Street Journal noted that “thousands of daters have turned to big cats to help them catch the eye of potential mates”.
While some observers see it as a harmless fad, lawmakers in New York have deemed the trend to be dangerous and have enacted a legislation to ban the “tiger selfies”.
Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who introduced the bill, said the legislation was drafted not for the purpose of spoiling the fun of selfie-takers, but to prevent them from coming to physical harm.
Despite any level of training, big cats have instincts to kill, Rosenthal pointed out. “As anyone who works with wild animals knows, you can train them but they’re wild animals and by nature they’re unpredictable.”
The law, which was signed this week by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, is also directed at roadside zoos that charge people for photos with big cats.
“I guess some young men in New York will have to find another game, because big cat selfies, along with direct contact with big cats, is now prohibited,” Rosenthal said.
Anyone violating the ban faces a penalty of US$500 for a first-time breach, while repeat offenders will be fined US$1,000.
Now the question is: Will that be enough to deter the Internet Romeos?
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