Think before posting #lionselfies, Instagram implores users

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The pop up message would be- "You are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behavior to animals or the environment." . And Instagram will now try and alert people to those dangers, while discouraging them from posting such pictures.

"The protection and safety of the natural world are important to us and our global community".

Instagram's decision to post warnings on certain wildlife hashtags was made after World Animal Protection approached the social network with research showing a 292 per cent increase in the number of selfies with wild animals posted since 2014, according to the animal welfare nonprofit. If users search for particular hashtags that are related to animal cruelty, they will see a pop-up box informing them that images containing animal abuse are not allowed on the site. "If someone's behavior is interrupted, hopefully they'll think, maybe there's something more here, or maybe I shouldn't just automatically like something or forward something or repost something if Instagram is saying to me there's a problem with this photo", she said.

Social media users are increasingly taking selfies with animals as props at tourist attractions such as zoos.

Tinder pledged to donate $10,000 to Project Cat, a partnership between Discovery Communications and the World Wildlife Foundation to protect tigers and their habitat.

While users looking to browse images already posted under the hashtags will be presented with the warning, they won't be warned if they attempt to upload a picture using the hashtag.

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Wildlife selfies on social media is a growing phenomenon. The animals of main concern are lions, koalas and tigers.

The trend has been embraced by many celebrities including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Paris Hilton.

"For Instagram to really step up now and recognize it and take strong measures, I think is very significant", he concluded.

In October, a Ukranian Instagram user sparked outrage among animal lovers when she posted her cat while it was getting a tattoo.

Lead Image: A young man snaps a selfie on Isla de los Micos, Monkey Island, in the Colombian Amazon. More than 40% of those selfie photos showed particularly bad interactions with wild animals - someone hugging, holding or inappropriately handling a wild animal. The reality is these wild animals are suffering terribly, both in front of and behind the camera.

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