Curious Macaque Monkeys Play with Photographer's CameraPublished July 13, 2011
Flickr User spencer77
Since Macaque monkeys have intricately involved social structures and a hierarchy similar to humans, I wasn’t surprised to learn that, according to Softpedia, they share approximately 93% of their genes with us!
Macaques are famous for their high degree of curiosity, so it didn’t seem strange to me to read that one of these particularly nosy simians became fascinated by the 46-year-old award winning wildlife photographer David Slater and his camera equipment while Slater was out on a nature shoot.
What makes the story even more interesting is that after the monkey caught a glimpse of his own reflection in the lens, this extremely rare and endangered crested black macaque grabbed the camera and started snapping away, taking a series of self portraits. Of course, if someone takes a moment to reflect upon his behavior it could give pause to assume he was a tad narcissistic, or maybe had a huge fan club.
But setting humor aside, while David was visiting a small natural park north of the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi, he was joined by a friendly bunch of these Macaques. According to “The Telegraph,” Slater described the incident by saying, “One of them must have accidentally knocked the camera and set it off because the sound caused a bit of a frenzy. 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,” Slater continued. “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."
The mob of Macaques accompanied Slater and his guide for several days while he was visiting the area. He added, “They befriended us and showed absolutely no aggression - they were just interested in the things I was carrying. 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."
But there are those folks who have been expressing their skepticism about this fascinating story that has been recently circulating widely around the Internet, with critics claiming Slater’s story is only “monkey business.”
What is your take on the story? Is it “monkey see-monkey do?” Share your opinions in a comment.