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Happy feat: these penguins found a camera in Antarctica and captured an excellent selfie

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 March, 2018, 2:07pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 March, 2018, 2:07pm

The selfie-snapping animals are at it again.

Two emperor penguins in Antarctica captured a short video of themselves after coming across a camera left on the ice by a human.

The Australian Antarctic Division posted the comical, 38-second clip to its social media channels Thursday. One of the group’s members, Eddie Gault, had placed the camera on the ground near the Auster Rookery – home to a large emperor penguin colony – while visiting the nearby Mawson research station.

“It didn’t take long for the naturally curious birds to seize the opportunity for a selfie,” the group said.

While the video at first captures a handful of penguins from a low vantage point, one bird soon waddles over to the camera and – with a single impressive kick – angles the screen to focus only on its face.

Because everyone has that one friend, another penguin soon nudges its way into the frame. For about half a minute, the two chirp and cock their heads inquisitively at the screen, before perking up and shaking their heads and bellies repeatedly.

Within hours, video of the penguins had been viewed more than 30,000 times on the Australian Antarctic Division Facebook page.

It’s not the first time, of course, that an animal selfie has made headlines – or even the first time a penguin in Antarctica has captured itself on camera.

In 2013, a Gentoo penguin in Antarctica snapped an epic, open-beaked photo of itself using a GoPro camera from a Canadian cruise company.

The Australian Antarctic Division may want to be mindful of how they use their fortuitously captured penguin video. The images of it are reminiscent of the infamous “monkey selfie” taken in 2011 by Naruto, a male crested black macaque, using a camera belonging to wildlife photographer (and human) David J. Slater.

At the time, Slater had been visiting the Tangkoko-Batuangus Nature Reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi to shadow a troupe of macaques. On the second day, a group of monkeys began playing with his camera, so he mounted it on a tripod and adjusted the settings to optimise a close-up in case they hit the trigger.

The ensuing “monkey selfies” quickly went viral and were featured in a 2014 photography book by Slater called Wildlife Personalities.

In 2015, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued Slater for damages, alleging that the human had infringed on the monkey’s copyright.

The case was settled about two years later, with Slater agreeing to donate 25 per cent of proceeds from the “monkey selfies” to Indonesian charities that protect crested macaques.