Complaints about lack of trigger warning after BBC posts image of leopard carrying dead baboon

It is a stark image that shows how nature really is red in tooth and claw. But a photograph posted by the BBC of a leopard carrying a dead baboon in its jaws - as the primate's baby clings in terror to her corpse has upset the more sensitive among us


BBC Wildlife Magazine faces social media backlash from users moaning about lack of trigger warning on photo of baby baboon clinging onto its dead mother in jaws of leopard

  • Users were offended when BBC Wildlife Magazine posted image on Instagram
  • Taken by photographer Igor Altuna in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park
  • Some users said they were going to unfollow the magazine 

It is a stark image that shows how nature really is red in tooth and claw. 

But a photograph posted by the BBC of a leopard carrying a dead baboon in its jaws – as the primate’s baby clings in terror to her corpse has upset some on social media.

Some users on Instagram were offended that BBC Wildlife Magazine did not issue a ‘trigger warning’ when they revealed the image, which was posted to promote the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest. 

One wrote: ‘Yes it’s nature blah blah blah but JEEEEEEZ!!! My #BlueMonday was sh*** enough without needing this punch in the face!!!’

Another said: ‘I’m unfollowing. You absolutely should not have posted this without a warning!’ 

It is a stark image that shows how nature really is red in tooth and claw. But a photograph posted by the BBC of a leopard carrying a dead baboon in its jaws – as the primate’s baby clings in terror to her corpse has upset the more sensitive among us

The photograph was taken by Igor Altuna in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park.

The leopardess’s cub played with the baby baboon for more than an hour before killing it.  

Responding to the BBC’s post, another person complained: ‘I loved seeing animals and wildlife but not this horror. 

‘Most of us are not used to this behaviour, so it’s necessary to respect sensibilities and warn about the content. It is empathy. 

A fourth wrote: ‘I agree with a lot of you that this should have come with a warning first. 

Some users on instagram were offended that BBC Wildlife Magazine did not issue a ‘trigger warning’ when they revealed the image, which was posted to promote a nature photography award shortlist

‘Also had a terrible day and I’d prefer to have a choice in what I see. So also unfollowing. 

‘For those of you who are saying things like “people can’t cope with anything these days/it’s brutal Mother Nature etc” it’s the people that are coping with a lot, maybe really horrible things/information on the daily that don’t want to see things like this to add to their pain or hardship, in the feed. 

They added: ‘I only follow uplifting things to balance my world. My job is hard and harrowing at times. 

‘I’d have liked to have had the choice, like many others have said. No need to be disrespectful or ignorant to peoples daily struggles is there.’

However, others were critical of those who complained about the lack of a content warning. 

Others were critical of those who complained about the lack of a content warning

Another said: ‘Don’t follow nature then. It’s what happens! Yes, its a compelling image. But, don’t forget that Cheetah [sic] is just doing what comes naturally. It has to kill to survive & has probably got cubs of its own to feed’

One wrote: ‘Amazing shot. Also amazed that people feel the need to comment that this image needs a “warning.” It’s neither graphic nor tasteless, it’s reality. 

‘This is nature, and nature is just as brutal as it is beautiful. 

‘BBC Wildlife is a publisher that shares nature media, and this photo is documenting a rare and incredible moment…in nature. 

If you can’t handle this photo, definitely don’t ever go on safari.’ 

The image was posted to promote the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022 – People’s Choice Award competition.

There are 25 shortlisted images in total, chosen from 38,575 entries sent in from around the world.  

Voting closes at 2pm on Thursday, February 2. 

The contest began in the 1960s and was first run by the BBC’s Animals magazine- which is now called Wildlife magazine.

The contest grew increasingly popular and by the mid-1980s, it had joined forces with the National History Museum, who now runs the competition and its accompanying exhibition.