Galapagos tortoises are a remarkable species that can live for hundreds of years and attain massive size. They are also considered to be a vulnerable species by the leading conservation group, The World Wildlife Fund.
And now, some guy in flip flops and swim trunks is in some real hot water over a stupid picture he took with one of these spectacular animals. You will need to read on to find out if he is being treated fairly or not.
We all know about “Instagram models.” they are the second-tier celebs who take and post endless pictures of themselves in a desperate attempt to become famous, at least in social media.
We just found the self-appointed “King of Instagram,” Dan Bilzerian, and he is some major hot water with animal rights and conservation groups after a picture he recently posted to “his” domain.
The flip flop wearing, muscle bound bonehead was hanging out on the private island of Sir Richard Branson, with some pretty young women in bikinis, when he decided to take advantage of the local wildlife and do some more shameless self-promotion.
He got one of the girls to climb on the back of a rare Galapagos tortoise that lives on Branson’s private wildlife refuge and took a few pictures that he posted to Instagram.
Very quickly, he found himself being criticized for his lack of sensitivity to the amazing and rare animals.
One Instagram user said, “Probably not cool for your friend to sit on its back.” And a twitter user caustically commented, “the best way to show one’s appreciation for the animal is to stick a skank on it, stay classy.”
He also caused some headache for Sir Richard Branson and his staff, with at least one social media user saying “I’m very disappointed to see your beautiful protected creatures as zoo rides.”
While Branson himself has not responded to the kerfuffle, a staff member at the refuge issued a statement that read, in part:
“We take great care when it comes to the well-being and protection of our wildlife and has a dedicated team who are responsible for preserving the Necker environment and all its inhabitants. Whilst we encourage our guests to learn more about our conservation efforts and to meet the animals on the island we certainly do not condone sitting on the animals.”
The website for Branson’s Necker Island refuge states:
“We could now be one of only five islands in the world to be successfully breeding giant tortoises. This discovery came at a great time, as it was recently reported that new-born baby tortoises have been found on the tiny Galapagos island of Pinzon for the first time in more than 100 years. It’s a major win for the species, indicating that the giant tortoise is once again able to reproduce on its own in the wild. It takes giant tortoises until they are between 20 and 30 years to reach sexual maturity, and they are only breeding successfully on Pinzon, the Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles), Rodrigues, Mauritius, and now Necker Island, making baby giant tortoises extremely rare. Protecting endangered species is one of the most important things any of us can do. Guided by the island’s Wildlife Conservation Manager, Vaman Ramlall, we will be monitoring the progression of the eggs with the hope that we have more giant tortoises on Necker in the new year.”
So, what do you think about these pictures? Is the “King of Instagram” just a bonehead, or is he an alright guy? Share your thoughts with us here.