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Save the Rhino: Don't Tag Poachers!
By: Jessica Cherok
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You probably haven’t thought about what geotagging your photos can do to endangered species. In a world where everyone is getting more sophisticated, even poachers are using social media to find their kills.

A recent post on Reddit by desmondxeos shows a sign posted in a rhino park in Africa. The sign reminds park visitors that posting pictures of the endangered rhinos can lead poachers to the animal’s location, putting them at risk.

Certainly there is a lot of talk about taking care of what you post online about yourself and children. Giving away too much information about yourself or your whereabouts can lead to unintended consequences. Clearly, this has happened in the case of the rhino park.

How widespread must the use of social media by poachers be to warrant signs? In the case of endangered species, the loss of even one animal can be harmful to the population.

Therefore, it becomes a balancing act — weighing the visitors’ desire to capture the memory against the safety of the species. Tourism is a large part — if not the largest part — of what keeps wildlife sanctuaries operating. Staff must raise awareness in order to keep from having to ban photography altogether.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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