If you’ve ever spent any time using dating apps, you’ll know that they can be a decidedly mixed bag. For every uplifting tale you hear about a couple who met on Tinder and are now happily engaged, there are three horror stories about cultural appropriators, misguided humanitarians and sexist pigs.
But if there’s one group of Tinder users that attracts particular scorn, it’s the tiger selfie takers. Swipe through the app and you’re bound to stumble across photos of men posing with tigers in Thai animal sanctuaries, apparently to demonstrate how well-travelled and courageous they are.
However, that’s all set to change - because these tiger lovers have been targeted by Tinder for propagating animal cruelty.
Reaching out to the Tinder community via an official statement, the makers of the app reminded them that, in modern-day matchmaking, cruelty to animals should never be on offer.
“Posing next to a king of the jungle doesn’t make you one,” they wrote in a blog post on their website.
“It’s time for the tiger selfies to go. More often than not, these photos take advantage of beautiful creatures that have been torn from their natural environment.”
The decision to take a tougher stance on tiger selfies comes shortly after PETA Australia brought the issue to the attention of Tinder founder Sean Rad.
Writing in an open letter, the animal protection charity said: “While most of us are on Tinder to find a soulmate or a date, appearing on the app isn't fun for everyone. What might, at first swipe, look like a harmless picture actually means that someone was caged, dominated, and tied down or drugged before their photo was taken and uploaded online.
“If this happened to one of your users on a Tinder date, you'd block the profile of the person responsible immediately. Unfortunately, this is the reality for tigers, lions, and other big cats who are featured in an alarming number of Tinder profile photos.”
PETA continued: “Baby tigers and other animals used at photo attractions are typically torn away from their distraught mothers when they're just days old and then subjected to extreme stress and physical abuse. Once they've grown larger and are too dangerous to handle, they end up being locked away in cages or heavily sedated.
“Not only are these types of photos cruel to animals, unaware Tinderlings might also mistake them for cute, harmless pictures and be prompted to take part in this abusive industry themselves. The problem is so great that there are entire blogs dedicated to ‘Tigers of Tinder’ and ‘Tinder guys with Tigers.’
“With International Tiger Day just around the corner, now is the perfect time to help protect pussies by banning the most selfish selfie of all.”
Tinder has now demanded that all of its users to remove their tiger selfies.
They have also donated $10,000 to Project Cat, a global movement to protect tigers.
Photos: iStock and Rex Features