NYers, It’s Illegal To Take a Selfie With a Tiger

ALBANY (AP) -

New Yorkers, tigers are meant to be feared not seen as photography scenery.

A law signed this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes it illegal to pose for photos with a tiger, lion or other big cat, something wildlife advocates say is not only hazardous to humans but encourages mistreatment of endangered animals. The big cats are often taken from their mothers as cubs, poorly cared for and then neglected or discarded when they grow up.

“They breed the cubs, use them for photo-ops, and then when they can’t use them they breed more,” said Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue. “Taking the cub away is a misery to the cub and the mother, and the cubs aren’t fed properly. They don’t sell tiger milk at the pet store.”

The legislators behind the new law said they hadn’t even heard of tiger selfies and simply wanted to impose some safeguards on the often unregulated industry of traveling animal shows.

“I had no idea what a tiger selfie was,” said Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat. “This is a serious issue. People who take selfies with wild animals are fooling with their lives. And it harms the animal because they’re generally not well-treated. They’re seen as profit-making props.”

Similar laws are already on the books in other states such as Kansas, where a 17-year-old girl was killed in 2005 while posing with a tiger for her senior photos.