Everyone, and we mean everyone, loves taking a good selfie. That includes members of the animal kingdom.
Late last week, the Australian Antarctic Division shared proof of this concept on its social media pages by showing off a truly stellar selfie taken by two emperor penguins in Antarctica.
Ok, so the penguins didn’t technically take the photo. Instead, a camera happened to be rolling as the pair waddled by. The two became fascinated with the contraption and leaned in to check it out. The duo can be seen chatting up a storm and closely inspecting the camera for about 30 seconds. So far, the clip has been viewed more than 380,000 on Twitter alone.
“#Penguin #selfie offers bird’s eye view of life in Antarctica! Curious Emperors have been captured on film at the Auster Rookery near Australia’s Mawson research station,” the crew posted on Twitter, giving photo credit to expeditioner Eddie Gault, though really, shouldn’t it belong to the birds? After all, Gault reportedly left the his camera on and placed on the ice. The birds did all the adorable work.
Of course, this is far from the first animal selfie to make waves on the internet. As the Washington Post pointed out, a Gentoo penguin from Antarctica also become a bit internet-famous when he snapped an open-beaked photo of himself in 2013. A GoPro camera had to be sacrificed but it was well-worth the shot.
The question of photo ownership first came up in 2011 when a male crested black macaque named Naruto became the center of a legal battle after he took a selfie using a camera that belonged to wildlife photographer David J. Slater. The photo went viral, however, in 2015, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued Slater for damages. At the time the group alleged he infringed on Naruto’s copyright.
“The U.S. copyright law does not make any distinction as to who can be the author of a copyrightable work based upon the species,” Jeffrey Kerr, general counsel to PETA, told the Washington Post in 2015. “If a human being had made this or similar selfie photographs, they would be the copyright owner of the photograph. Naruto is no different since he is a macaque.”
The case ultimately settled with Slater agreeing to donate 25 percent of proceeds from the “monkey selfies” charity. So maybe next time you take a picture of a wild animal make sure they sign a release.