The critically endangered crested black macaque spends most of its day foraging for food, socializing, and — apparently — sharpening its photography skills.

Wildlife photographer David Slater witnessed these skills first-hand while on a three-day trek through an Indonesian national park. With the help of a local guide, he was able to encounter and walk with a group of these rare and inquisitive monkeys. Upon leaving his tripod-mounted camera unattended for a moment, a bold member of the group swooped in and commandeered the prize. As can be expected, chaos and hilarity ensued.

They were quite mischievous, jumping all over my equipment. 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.

Photos: David Slater

The thief ended up taking hundreds of photographs, including several amazingly in-focus self portraits and one of Slater himself attempting to regain possession of his property.

Crested black macaques aren’t particularly celebrated for their intelligence, but it’s pretty clear that their eye for photography far surpasses mine. I can never achieve anywhere near these kinds of results from the arm-stretchy self-portrait technique employed here.

(Via PetaPixel & The Guardian.)

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