There is no doubt that taking part in a photo safari is a unique experience, offering unforgettable opportunities to observe wild animals in their natural habitat and, with a little luck, even collect a photo album with Big Five images.
But if it is true that new lovers of nature have switched their rifles through telephoto lenses, there are still those who do not think so.
One of the new dangers lurking takes advantage of the fashion of social networks. In what way? We went on to explain: there is a point where the hunters are right, part of the adrenaline of any safari lies in the ability (and luck) to find the difficult animals. No matter how expert a guide, finding animals in the bush is not always easy. So when someone shares a freshly taken photograph of a lion, leopard or rhinoceros, he may inadvertently share the whereabouts of certain animals with poachers.
Sherwin Banda, president of African Travel, an operator who organizes photographic safaris in countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Uganda or Tanzania, has been alerting its customers to the danger of publishing images in applications such as Instagram. These mobile applications with geolocation capabilities, provide the exact location of each photo, which information is automatically associated with the shared image. That is, if several people share photos of a particular animal in the same space of time, these images will give poachers updated and instant information about their location, making their work much easier.
“People take a safari and take pictures to remember later, but what they do not realize is that there are people watching all these images for information on killing these animals,” explains the head of the agency.
The latest numbers of poaching in Africa are worrying. In South Africa, for example, the number of rhinos killed by poachers has increased to 1,175 in 2015, from only 13 in 2007.
To counter this new method of illegal hunting, there are already several parks and reservations with warnings at the entrance, which warn visitors to turn off the geolocation of their mobile phones before taking and sharing any photo.