PASA’s Photo Guidelines for Human-Primate Interaction

Imagery of humans and primates interacting is important to show the work of sanctuaries and others working to protect these threatened species. However, without proper guidelines, these images can promote the misguided idea that primates can be safely handled by people and even make good pets. This is not the case. To avoid giving the impression that primates would make good pets, or that it’s appropriate to use them as props in photos, PASA has made the following guidelines.

Posts of people with primates should be used to show people helping animals, such as handling them as part of their job or giving medical treatment. It should be clear from the image (without a caption) that the person is a professional. Professional elements include wearing a uniform, wearing PPE such as a mask or gloves, and not looking directly at the camera. Photos of local staff interacting with primates should be prioritized.

Ideally, photos of people with primates show:

  • The person wearing some type of PPE (mask, gloves, surgical gown).
  • The person wearing a uniform.
  • The person in the course of their work, i.e., providing care or medical treatment while not looking directly at the camera.

Unacceptable photos:

  • Primates in clothes or diapers (unless you’re showing this in a negative light, e.g., smugglers arrested with a primate in clothes or a primate in clothes in a small cage).
  • People posing with primates. Also avoid posting photos of people hugging, holding hands with, or playing with primates.

In special circumstances, images that do not meet all the qualifications can still be shared. Images showing rescue operations or caregivers interacting with new rescues may be shared if it doesn’t look like the primate is a pet and enough context is provided. These images should be avoided if other content is readily available.

If you have questions regarding PASA’s policy, please reach out to us at info@pasa.org.