While working in an Indonesian national park, British nature photographer David Slater had his camera purloined by a clever macaque monkey who took several self-portraits, apparently fascinated by her own reflection in the lens. The exceptionally charming images that resulted has won the cheeky monkey fans around the world.
As reported in the Daily Mail, while visiting a national park in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, award-winning photographer Slater left his camera unattended for a while. It soon attracted the attention of an inquisitive female from a local group of crested black macaque monkeys, known for their intelligence and dexterity. Fascinated by her reflection in the lens, she then somehow managed to start the camera.
The upshot: A splendid self-portrait.
“One of them must have accidentally knocked the camera and set it off because the sound caused a bit of a frenzy,” said Slater. “At first there was a lot of grimacing with their teeth showing because it was probably the first time they had ever seen a reflection. They were quite mischievous jumping all over my equipment, and it looked like they were already posing for the camera when one hit the button. The sound got his attention and he kept pressing it. At first it scared the rest of them away but they soon came back –it was amazing to watch. He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back, but not very many were in focus. He obviously hadn’t worked that out yet. I wish I could have stayed longer as he probably would have taken a full family album.”
Slater, from Coleford, Gloucestershire, was on a trip to a small national park north of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi when he met the incredibly friendly bunch. The crested black macaque is extremely rare and critically endangered. These were part of a study group near a science base in the region, home to researchers from Holland.
“I teamed up with a local guide because I knew about the apes and wanted to photograph them,” said Slater. “I walked with them for about three days in a row. They befriended us and showed absolutely no aggression – they were just interested in the things I was carrying. They aren’t known for being particularly clever like chimps, just inquisitive. Despite probably never having any contact with humans before they didn’t feel threatened by our presence, and that’s why I could walk with them during the day.”
Images: Caters News Agency LTD