“King of Instagram” Triggers Outrage With Pictures of Friend Riding a 100-Year-Old Tortoise

3de6321b00000578-4277346-image-m-21_1488515871750We have recently discussed tourists harming wildlife for self-absorbed photos. The latest example of such reckless conduct is from the British Virgin Islands where Dan Bilzerian posted a picture of a bikini-clad woman riding a 100-year-old Galapagos tortoise.  Fortunately there is no indication that the tortoise was harmed but such uniquely stupid conduct.  Bilzerian is the self-proclaimed “King of Instagram” as well as one of the most self-obsessed individuals that you are likely to encounter.

People were legitimately outraged and animal experts have said that the tortoise could have been harmed.  However, Bilzerian dismissed all of the complaints and stated “Get off your soapbox, the people working there said it’s fine to sit on them.”

There are some sites (and even a TripAdvisor review) on “riding tortoises” — a practice widely condemned by experts.  These magnificent animals are not horses or playing things for juveniles.  Even in China (with perhaps the worst record on the care of animals at zoos and parks) fired a zoo keeper for allowing people to ride their tortoise.  He let people prod the tortoise with a screwdriver to guarantee a better ride.  Other turtles have been seriously injured by tourists stepping on them and dragging them around.

Bilzerian appears to love to post pictures of himself with scantily clad women and guns.  In this case however his juvenile, self-obsession led to global condemnation.  I doubt seriously that it will materially change his conduct but the British Virgin Islands needs to take greater care in not only protecting wildlife but pursuing people like Bilzerian.


38 thoughts on ““King of Instagram” Triggers Outrage With Pictures of Friend Riding a 100-Year-Old Tortoise”

  1. Two sides to this coin: 1) they asked permission and the keeper gave permission; and 2) the public outrage is only passed by the demise of the Barnum Circus, why became attendance was down because of no elephants. Attendance dropped by 30%.


    1. Mary – this is several steps up from the infamous Komado(sp?) dragon episode at the famous San Diego Zoo.

  3. He may be right that the facility encouraged tourists to ride the tortoise. They thought it was neat and were perhaps told it was OK. I know I’ve personally seen endangered sea turtles treated rather cavalierly in the Caribbean. So the underlying problem may not be the tourists, but rather that people both here and abroad may not know how to handle animals.

    Yes, the animal can heave itself around. They are designed to mate and briefly hold heavy weight for that time. It is still a risk of a crack or injury that in the wild, Natural Selection would just shrug its shoulders and cull the animal. I wish people had a bit more respect for the environment, and wouldn’t carve their initials on rock monuments, harass manatees, haul baby dolphins and sharks out of the water, ride elderly tortoises, or poke at burrowing owls. It’s in our curious nature to want to touch everything, and sometimes, we break it. (Really, can anyone look at a video of a sea otter and not feel the urge to cuddle it?) I just wish we were more savvy and empathetic about wildlife. Tourists get charged at and sometimes batted around by buffalo because they walk within the danger zone to take a photo of a bull with a raised tail and lowered head. Sometimes those manatees and dolphins and sharks die.

  4. The tortoise does not seem unhappy as it eats a piece of lettuce. The Tortured Tortoise?

    1. So some despicable author tried to play on animal lovers emotions to get attention and get clicks for ad revenue. typical for those in the lamestream media

    2. We have a huge issue and problem coming up on March 15th, the debt ceiling and the “mindless majority” is debating over a potentially unhappy tortoise.

  5. This just in from Cloud 9. Trump’s daughter walked in on dad and he was swearing and yakking about a midget while he had his finger “on The Button”. She gave him a morning cup of coffee and led him into the computer room.

  6. This just in from the White House, DDT says that the tortoise was bugged as the zoo was expecting him to come by to look at sites for resorts, and some political stuff as well. DDT states unequivocally that Obama was behind him and that Obama never liked him, and that he can’t understand why as he, the only one who can fix it, is a yugely popular fellow. The tortoise was not available for comment, however by the look on Conway’s face when presented with questions about this alleged buggery, she concurs.

  7. It looks like her weight is probably not enough to bother the turtle too much. Far worse are hefty people riding horses.

  8. How many of these “outraged” people can tell you how many drone strikes Trump has authorized since being president? I think he’s just under Obama’s average by a half a point. Works out to be one every 5 days.
    When we get candy instead of food we prefer candy right?
    We are going to all intellectually starve together.

  9. So some random dude and his girlfriend somewhere “rode” a tortoise, which seems unharmed and eating and you are concerned because…? He’s vain? He’s got an interest in guns? For this he should be “pursued”? Pretty sure you lost the plot. The world is going to hell, and this is not actually a problem.

  10. As most governments in the world the general public follow the same rule, wait for the blood to run to correct human stupidity. And human stupidity has no limit it affects all human economic levels. Many equal stupidity to error, however error is easier to correct stupidity may last the individual’s whole life.

  11. This guy loves roids, nair and selfies…he’s a narcissist…

  12. No tortoises were harmed in the making of this Instagram!!!! And it looks like the tortoise was well paid for it’s work. I do not know what scale is for tortoises, but she did not look that heavy and the tortoise was being fed.

  13. I am much, much more concerned about plastic thrown away, on land, in watercourses and in the ocean. At least that tortoise won’t be accidently swallowing plastics.

    Pick your battles better, Turley.

  14. Oh, he’s the king of something, alright. Whether it’s permitted or not, they should be ashamed of themselves. People that willfully hurt or humiliate animals have already told you all you need to know about them.

  15. They been doing that for tourists for decades and decades. The turtle is well taken care of unlike the ones i the zoos in the USA which are tortured or stoned… or was that alligators. I can’t think of a single defaced natural wonder down there unless it’s recent unlike that done by some of our hollyweirdweedo elitists. If can’t measure up to the standards of Singapore and in our cigarette butt infested country that will never happen ….physician heal thyself.

  16. That is one gorgeous woman, don’t know how the turtle feels but I’d be happy to give her a piggyback or turtleback on the beach anytime.

  17. People should have more respect for wildlife. After all it’s their home too.

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