MANAUS, BRAZIL. A caiman is readied for use as a selfie prop during an “ecotour” in the Amazon rainforest. The animal has its mouth bound by an elastic band or piece of string to keep it from biting tourists.
A local resident explained to me that caimans used in these activities typically die of starvation and are then promptly replaced by another caiman before the next tour arrives.
Evidence gathered during this project by World Animal Protection indicates that many caimans used in such manner are poached from the wild and kept in squalid captivity behind the scenes.
This image is part of an investigative project designed to investigate the impact of the selfie phenomenon on wildlife. During this assignment it became apparent that many tourists join tours to engage in wildlife ecotourism, unaware that the activities are often unregulated, illegal and cruel.
Animals used in these activities can die prematurely due to mishandling and severe, constant stress. Tour guides who are either lying or being lied to themselves pre-empt possible concerns by assuring tourists that these activities are harmless to the animals, and that supporting such activities help the local communities.
Nando Machado Photography