Wildlife photography used to be a niche art reserved for the talented few with the dedication and passion to produce awe-inspiring imagery. But since photography surged into the digital era, it seems like everyone is a converted shutterbug. Even the wildlife is into wildlife photography these days ...

Biologist Mogens Trolle was photographing Celebes crested macaques in Indonesia's Tangkoko Batuangus Nature Reserve recently when one of the curious primates decided to investigate his camera. The youngster looks "very much like a wildlife photographer", Trolle told Laughing Squid. "[He was] standing behind my camera, looking into it, checking out the buttons, turning it around, just like I would myself when photographing." The macaque did not damage the equipment and quickly returned to more pressing monkey matters after a quick inspection of the gear.

The Celebes crested macaque (Macaca nigra), sometimes also called the Sulawesi crested macaque, crested black macaque or black ape is a critically endangered species of monkey found in the monsoon forest at the northeastern tip of Indonesia's Sulawesi Island. They are curious-looking creatures with striking red-orange eyes and a long tuft of hair on their heads that gives them an almost comical appearance. They live in groups and spend much of their time on the ground foraging for food (when they aren't taking photos).

And if this mohawked monkey looks familiar, it may be because it was a Celebes crested macaque that snapped the selfie that sparked the internet's favourite copyright battle. Back in 2011, a snap-happy primate got its hands on wildlife photographer David J. Slater's camera at an Indonesian park and snapped hundreds of macaque selfies. The grinning snapshot below quickly went viral, launching a slew of memes and a copyright battle with Wikimedia (read more about it here).

monky _selfie_2014_08_21
Image: Wikimedia Commons

The latest monkey-turned-photographer avoided any litigious controversy. It did not hit the shutter-release button.

Header image: Magnus Johansson