Portrait of the apes: Monkey takes a selfie with stunned British tourists (but all is not as it seems)

These British tourists appeared stunned after taking a holiday snap with this cheeky monkey in Bali, Indonesia.

Chloe and Craig Dennis were out in the Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest when they came across one of 1,260 Balinese long-tailed macaques native to the area.

Unbelievably, they appeared to capture the moment by roping the monkey into taking a remarkably good selfie of the three of them.

The resulting photo showed Chloe and Craig with a look of apparent disbelief on their face as the primate posed, mouth agape.

Chloe, from Devon, UK, said of the getaway: ‘It definitely was a trip of a lifetime!’

Chloe and Craig Dennis say the monkey took the photo of them while on holiday in Bali

The Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest is a natural sanctuary in the village of Padangtegal, Ubud, spanning some 12.5 hectares of land and home to around 1,200 monkeys.

Since the 14th century, the forest has been regarded as a sacred place, and remains home to three temples.

The monkeys are believed to symbolise both protection and mischief – characterised in the selfies they offer at IDR 50.000 (£2.50) a piece.

Today, the forest gets by on its responsible tourism trade, helping preserve it as a vital conservation area.

Encouraging people to reach spiritual and physical wellbeing through a harmonious exchange with the environment, the administrators invite people to get close to the monkeys native to the land in a responsible fashion.

The monkeys are understood to live in 10 separate groups, each with their own home range, within the forest.

Locals and workers at the forest continue to provide them with a steady diet of sweet potatoes and bananas.

In return, the monkeys appear all too happy to offer tourists selfies.

Visitors can buy a voucher for the ‘monkey selfie activity’.

They are advised to maintain a good distance from the monkey if they wish to take a photo themselves.

Legal precedent was set in 2018 when another monkey stole a photographer’s camera and started taking selfies.

Naruto, a crested macaque also from Indonesia, snapped several now-famous photos on David John Slater’s camera while he was on an assignment in Indonesia.

The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that animals do not have legal rights to photos they take after copyright status was called into question.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had sued Slater and self-publishing company Blurb on Naruto’s behalf in 2015, arguing that publishing and selling the photos without [Naruto’s] permission infringed upon Naruto’s rights spelled out in the Copyright Act.

Generally, the author and initial copyright owner of a photo is the person who takes the photo – in American as in British law.

In the end, the court ruled: ‘Our court’s precedent requires us to conclude that the monkey’s claim has standing under Article III of the United States Constitution.

‘Nonetheless, we conclude that this monkey – and all animals, since they are not human – lacks statutory standing under the Copyright Act.1 

‘We therefore affirm the judgment of the district court,’ panel Judge Carlos Bea said.

Reaching an agreement with PETA, Slater agreed to donate 25 per cent of any future revenue derived from using or selling the photos to charities that protect the macaques’ habitat in Indonesia.

A crab-eating macaque in Ubud Monkey Forest, Bali, Indonesia. Undated

A crab-eating macaque in Ubud Monkey Forest, Bali, Indonesia. Undated

Balinese take part in a purification ritual at the Beji Temple, located inside a monkey sanctuary in Ubud on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on August 15, 2019

Balinese take part in a purification ritual at the Beji Temple, located inside a monkey sanctuary in Ubud on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on August 15, 2019

According to a joint statement, ‘PETA and David Slater agree that this case raises important, cutting-edge issues about expanding legal rights for nonhuman animals, a goal that they both support, and they will continue their respective work to achieve this goal.’

A statement from PETA at the time said: ‘Naruto and the famous ‘monkey selfie’ photographs that he undeniably took clearly demonstrate that he and his fellow macaques—like so many other animals—are highly intelligent, thinking, sophisticated beings worthy of having legal ownership of their own intellectual property and holding other rights as members of the legal community.

‘Naruto’s case went all the way to a federal appeals court and shows that the struggle for animal rights is ingrained in our legal system. We’ll continue working in the courts to establish legal rights for animals. 

‘Everyone deserves the rights we hold dear: to live as they choose, to be with their families, to be free from abuse and suffering, and to benefit from their own creations.’

MailOnline contacted the Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest for comment.

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