Russian social media influencers and celebrities abuse tigers and lions

NEWS AND COMMENT: In order to gloss up their celebrity status and present to the world that they live a glamorous lifestyle, female Russian social media celebrities and influencers have introduced sedated tigers and lions as glamorous props at wild parties. 

Even within Russia there are those who have criticised them heavily. There are obviously animal advocates in Russia but there are other people who think that Russians don't give a damn about animal welfare. It's one reason why the Siberian tiger is near extinction. For many years it was the target of sport hunters.

Ilona Kotelyukh poses with the tiger at her party in Moscow
Ilona Kotelyukh poses with the tiger at her party in Moscow Credit:

One female model and influencer Ilona Kotelyukh, 28, had a party marking Russian Women's Day which is a holiday apparently, where the guests were entertained with a striptease and where the surroundings were glamorised by three sedated tigers (see above).

She is the wife of multimillionaire insurance king Nikolay Sarkisov, 52. There's been a rash of these sorts of parties which has antagonised animal rights activists.

Another model and social media celebrity whose name is Oxana Samaoylova, 32, is the wife of Russian rapper Geegun. She showed her three daughters playing with a tiger cub in the backyard apparently. It was part of an organised Lion King themed party for her daughter's fifth birthday. She used live lion cubs to decorate the event.

Another female Russian celebrity Yana Leventseva has received death threats after she posed with a lion cub during celebrations for her 27th birthday. She has 12.9 million subscribers on her Instagram pages. One commenter said: "For your child it is a celebration, but for animals it is torment."

Yana Leventseva has complained of "death threats" after posing with a lion cub during celebrations for her 27th birthday
Yana Leventseva has complained of "death threats" after posing with a lion
cub during celebrations for her 27th birthday. Photo: Instagram.

She dismissed the complaints as bulls***. She said that she was against animal cruelty and that no one tortured the lion. She said that the lion was playing with his owner. She also remarked that: "No-one forced him, held him, or tortured him."

COMMENT: She is fighting back because she can't understand what's wrong with it. She is unable to understand the nuances of what she's doing in terms of having a negative impact upon wildlife conservation. Once you treat tiger cubs and lion cubs as commodities and accoutrements to your lifestyle you debase them and when you debase them like that they become more valuable as a human commodity and an accessory rather than as a wild creature living in their habitat. What she has done is undermining conservation. She is very self-indulgent, ignorant and careless.

She needs to be educated as do the other influencers and social media stars in Russia and indeed anywhere else who see fit to exploit and abuse tigers and lions in this way. It is this deep-seated ignorance of how tiger and lion conservation can be undermined which is behind all failures in the battle to preserve these big cats.  

It is all about attitude and the relationship humankind wants to have with wildlife. If our attitude is one of exploitation and abuse - even at a relatively minor level - there is no chance that humankind will arrest the gradual extinction of tigers in the wild. We will head mercilessly towards all known tigers on the planet being in cages. There will be none in forests and the wild landscapes of this beautiful planet.

There are an estimated 3,500 tigers in the wild in the world. There are 8,000 at China's tiger farms where they are harvested for their body parts. There are about 5,000 in private zoos in the USA.

Source: The Sun. Typos on names? Apologies but I am in a perpetual rish :) 


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