There could be an entire corner of the Internet devoted solely to the misguided people who take animal selfies. There’s Shark Bro, seal selfies, and countless other examples of people wittingly turning themselves into bear bait to get that perfect photo to post to Instagram. Why anyone would need a warning against taking a “tiger selfie” is beyond us, but New York state actually passed a law banning such pictures.
The most recent addition to the animal selfie genre involves whales and weddings. And not just any whale, but the rare white beluga whale. That’s right, evidently it’s become a thing to have your wedding photo taken with a photobombing cetacean in the background:
The Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, home to an Arctic Coast exhibit that features beluga whales, has become popular among couples hoping to break the Internet with their wacky and unique wedding photographs. (Take that, Kim and Kanye!) A photo from a wedding at the aquarium went viral back in 2013 when Juno the beluga photobombed a couple posing in front of a large tank. But since then more couples have been making pilgrimages to the aquarium so the beluga can be part of their wedding photo album.
Whale selfies aren’t new, of course. There was the guy who enjoyed a minute of Internet fame after taking selfies with a humpback whale in the Pacific Ocean. And who can forget this clever fellow, who leaped on top of a whale carcass in Australian waters to get the perfect picture, only to realize that the carcass was surrounded by sharks feeding on it, including a great white?
But social media exacerbates people’s tendency to do stupid things when it comes to selfies and animals. When a dead sperm whale washed up in Bali in March, people rushed to take selfies with the creature. As The Daily Mail reported, “when the news spread on social media that the dead whale’s body was lying on the beach, huge crowds gathered to take pictures with some even seen climbing on the animal.”
As for this latest trend, here’s hoping it doesn’t take off. Weddings should be about noble commitments to each other, not harassing some of nature’s most noble creatures. And if that doesn’t convince you to leave the animals alone, consider this: Last year, more people died from taking selfies than shark attacks.