Troop goes ape with camera

2011-07-07 00:00

AWARD-winning photographer David Slater did not have to lift a finger to get close-ups of a troop of highly endangered crested black macaques. The troop hijacked his camera and started taking photos of themselves — facebook style — at a small Indonesian national park.

“One of them must have accidentally knocked the camera and set it off because the sound caused a bit of frenzy,” Slater said. He said at first the apes were grimacing with their teeth showing because it was probably the first time they had ever seen a reflection.

“They aren’t known for being particularly clever like chimps, just inquisitive.” said Slater.

They must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time Slater got his camera back, but not many were in focus. Slater, from Coleford, Gloucestershire, was on a trip to a small national park north of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi when he met the crested black macaque which is an extremely rare and critically endangered ape species.

This crested black macaques is threatened by over-hunting in Sulawesi and its habitat is also threatened by human settlement. The Sulawesi island is particularly sensitive to environmental change with a limited amount of land for its wildlife and expanding human population.

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