Gianmarco Tamberi, lionesses “cuddled” on social networks and empathy exploited by fake sanctuaries

A series of seemingly harmless shots and short videos. “Swept” lion cubs and preoccupied with the most spontaneous of controlled gestures out of empathy towards other animals. AND “trap” again it worked perfectly for unsuspecting tourists.

Unwitting victim of existence fake african sanctuaries this time it was an Italian high lifter and Olympic and world champion Gianmarco Tamberi who then stated that he acted completely unknowingly and in complete good faith after posting the footage and footage on his Instagram profile, turning attention back to the sad but still little-known phenomenon.

Tamberi is in South Africa where, like many tourists, he has visited everything imaginable wildlife rehabilitation center. However, there are many structures in Africa and beyond disguised as shrines or fauna recovery and repopulation centers take advantage of the good intentions of tourists and volunteers to exploit animals. They are the so-called false shrinesreal secret farms that present themselves as animal shelters to attract many people who like animals and want them getting to know them and helping them up close.

And these structures rely on people’s empathy and natural biophilia founded his own company on the skin and life of wild animals. In fact, tourists, thinking they are contributing to the conservation of these animals, instead end up in real zoo farms where they pay handsomely to pet or giving bottles to lion cubs and tigers which, however, never return to the wild and spend their entire existence in captivity to be abused as soft toys and then, when adults, as breeding animals.

Recognize a true sanctuary or recovery center However, it is not easy for those who do not know this world. In fact, you have to do a lot of research and keep your eyes open to catch a few but unmistakable clues. A true recovery center or retreat in fact, he will never breed wild animals in its own structure, which is intended only and exclusively for individuals recovered or rescued from difficult conditions or who can no longer return to nature. However, sometimes the mere presence of numerous puppies is not enough as a wake-up call, as they are often presented orphaned individuals or abandoned.

The element that should therefore make us suspicious more than any other is one above all: direct interaction with puppies. Any organization that allows you to interact, take selfies, cuddle, feed and play with puppies does not care about the welfare and protection of these animals. Direct contact with human beings is really enough lose the natural distrust of these animals towards our species and thus prevents a possible return to wild life. Any center or structure that enables and drives all of this does not have protection and respect for animals as its priority.

Fortunately, there were many users in this case draw attention to this obscure phenomenon Tamberi. Among them is a commentary by Chiara Grasso, an animal behavior expert who has made tourism and ethical interaction with wild animals a life’s mission. And the Italian champion himself has he admitted with great sincerity that they have unknowingly fallen victim to this trap, which has enabled many other followers to become aware of this sad phenomenon.


Unfortunately, social media often supports this type of business and indirectly supports it as well a black market that threatens species: it has already been proven by several studies and it is a risk that is increasing every day all over the world, also because of movies or TV series. We have talked about this many times on the Kodami site, la the spectacularization of wild animals in fact, it makes people believe that it is possible to interact with or even keep a tiger, lion, bear or hyena at home, all of which only further encourages illegal trapping, breeding and markets that can threaten conservation itself. kinds.

Before choosing a place to visit or to offer your energy and money with the idea of ​​helping or doing good to animals, it is a good idea to inform yourself and contact the structures who put the protection and well-being of animals first: no direct interactions with them, respect for their ethology and availability for limited, if not completely absent, contact with animals first properties which enable us to discern true ethical sanctuaries from false ones. Fortunately, this time thanks to social media, the experience and sensitivity of the champion Tamberi will be able to contribute raise awareness and inform many more people to avoid falling prey to false shrines.

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