Leopard selfie
Leopard (Panthera pardus) in Nouabale Ndoki National Park, Republic of CongoCourtesy of the TEAM Network and Wildlife Conservation Society

Animals in tropical forest protection areas have been photographed by camera traps to assess their population numbers – and some of them took the opportunity for a photoshoot.

The study, published in PLOS Biology, found that of the 244 species photographed, just 22% decreased in number – suggesting protection areas can maintain the overall biodiversity.

Ogilby's duiker selfie
Ogilby's Duiker (Cephalophus ogilbyi) in Cameroon. This species often shows a lot of interest in the cameras.Courtesy of TEAM Network and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

"At a time when environmental concerns are taking centre stage, these results show that protected areas play an important role in maintaining biodiversity," said Jorge Ahumada, author of the study from the TEAM Network (Tropical Ecology Assessment & Monitoring), which includes Conservation International, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

"With this data we have created a public resource that can be used by governments or others in the conservation community to inform decisions."

Curassow selfie
Nocturnal Curassow (Nothocrax urumutum) in Yasuní National Park, EcuadorCourtesy of TEAM Network and Missouri Botanical Garden

The study used 1,000 camera traps across 15 protected areas over the world, including South and Central America, Africa and Southeast Asia. A total of 2.5 million photographs were taken, and researchers went through every single one of them to analyse population numbers.

As you can see, their job was made slightly better by coming across some of the animals posing in rather entertaining ways.

Here are the highlights;

Drill selfie
Male Drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus) close-up in Cameroon, with a female and juvenile in the background.Courtesy of TEAM Network and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Jaguar selfie
This jaguar (Panthera onca) from TEAM's Cocha Cashu site in Manu National Park, Peru, stayed in front of the camera for over 90 photographsCourtesy of TEAM Network and Duke University
Elephant selfie
African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) from TEAM's site in Nouabale Ndoki National Park, Republic of CongoCourtesy of TEAM Network and Wildlife Conservation Society
Chimpanzee selfie
Common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) captured on camera for the first time in this area of Korup National Park.Courtesy of TEAM Network and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Anteater selfie
A giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador.Courtesy of TEAM Network and Missouri Botanical Garden
Collared peccary selfie
Collared peccary (Pecari tajacu) in the Cocha Cashu Manú National ParkCourtesy of TEAM Network and Duke University
Bush dog selfie
Two rarely-seen bush dogs (Speothos venaticus) are captured for the first time in Yanachaga–Chemillén National Park, PeruCourtesy of TEAM Network and Missouri Botanical Garden
Jaguar selfie
The jaguar (Panthera onca) is the largest cat in the western hemisphere and a near threatened species. This individual was photographed at Volcán Barva, Costa Rica.Courtesy of TEAM Network and Conservation International
Elephants selfie
African bush elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Nouabale Ndoki National Park, Republic of CongoCourtesy of TEAM Network and Wildlife Conservation Society