Animal selfies have been getting a bad rap lately, all because of daft humans. First there was the baby dolphin in Argentina that died after being subjected to selfies with a mob of beachgoers. Then a Florida shark was forced to take a selfie with a swimmer. This week, a tourist in Macedonia dragged a swan in front of a camera.
Thankfully, the humans at Google and Disney have teamed up to give animal selfies back to animals. As part of a promo for the movie “Zootopia” and Google Photos, the tech company encased its Nexus phones in what a spokeswoman called “an animal-safe enrichment container” and placed them in enclosures at the Los Angeles Zoo. The cameras snap photos when the animals approach, creating shots that Google is calling “Zoogle selfies” and began uploading to a public website this week.
Here’s a sloth showing off some strong selfie game.
The Google spokeswoman said the cameras offer “a chance for the animals to explore something new in their environment while safety fostering their inquisitive nature.”
Nitpicky observers will note that these aren’t technically selfies, not in the sense that the monkey selfie that caused a copyright kerfuffle is a selfie. They’re more like images taken with camera traps, the motion-detecting devices biologists use to capture photos of animals in the wild — such as El Jefe, the jaguar spotted recently in Arizona.
But they look like selfies, so we’ll call them that.