When a researcher with the Australian Antarctic Division left a camera near the favorite haunt of a large colony of emperor penguins, two of the birds waddled over to check the contraption out. Fortunately, as Amy B. Wang of the Washington Post reports, the camera was rolling when the penguins started to peer into its lens, resulting in a very adorable penguin “selfie.”
Expeditioner Eddie Gault placed the camera near the Auster Rookery during his visit to Australia’s Mawson research station. The Australian Antarctic Division posted a short clip of the camera-happy penguins on its social media pages, writing that the footage offers a “bird’s eye view of life in Antarctica!”
At the start of the clip, we can only see the feet of a penguin, which appears to kick the camera over so its lens faces the sky. As the penguin stares into the camera, another pops into frame. The buddies bend towards the lens, cocking their heads. Then they straighten up and shake their heads, as though they have decided that this strange object is not worth their time.
Penguins, the Australian Antarctic Division writes on its Facebook page, are “naturally curious” animals, and this is at least the second time that the birds have been caught goofing around with a camera. In 2013, a Gentoo penguin snapped a selfie of its gaping beak while toying with a GoPro camera from a Canadian cruise ship.
Other animals have also been known to dabble in the art of the selfie. An eagle in Western Australia once swooped up a camera that was supposed to be recording fresh-water crocodiles, and filmed itself flying and pecking at the lens. Then there is the crested black macaque that inadvertently launched a years-long legal battle when it took a goofy photo of itself with a camera owned by David Slater, a British wildlife photographer. Slater published the image of the macaque in a book, which prompted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to sue him for infringing on the copyright of the so-called “selfie monkey.” The parties settled out of court last year.
By Slater’s own admission, the macaque had pressed the shutter on his camera, which proved to be the crux of the lawsuit against him. In the case of the Antarctic penguins, the camera was already rolling when they decided to strike a pose, so the Australian Antarctic Division should be able to avoid any legal woes. But if you happen to be in the Antarctic and see two penguins taking top-down Instagram shots of their latest meal, you know whom to blame.