You may have seen my monkey CPR series go viral in the news last week. My light-hearted series certainly created a flurry of interest, even if there was some poor reporting from some international papers.
While I don't mind the clickbait-style reporting, several papers completely changed the narrative. I thought, in the spirit of transparency, I would share my interview with Solent News on my website. You can now read the interview on what really happened in the link below.
My interview with Solent News
1. When were the pictures taken?
The images were taken in January this year
2. Where were the pictures taken?
The images were taken in Gaborone Game Reserve, Botswana
3. Do you know how the monkey on the ground was injured?
When I first spotted the Vervet monkey, it was walking with a limp. If you have spent any time with Vervet monkeys in the wild, you realise how full of character they can be. In what I can only describe as dramatic fashion, the monkey fell to the floor, with both legs and arms spread out. At first, I couldn't figure out what was happening, but as I picked up my camera, another monkey came sauntering in grabbing the monkey on the floor by its mouth and seemingly administering CPR. In reflection, I think the performance was all a cry for attention.
4. Why do you think the monkeys pay more attention to injured members of the group?
Monkeys form strong bonds within the troop. There is a clear and important hierarchy. like humans this social community is largely based around "if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours", and bonds are formed largely through grooming. Regularly I have seen this extend to helping clean wounds, and even nursing injured troop members. In my opinion, this compassion can also be manipulated by attention-seeking individuals.
5. How big were these monkeys?
Vervet monkeys are small primates, with adult males weighing between 4-8kg
6. How long was the monkey being groomed for, and what did it do after?
The grooming went on for about 5 minutes before the groomer lost interest. The seemingly recovered recipient ran off good as new.
7. How long were you watching them for?
I always love spending time with monkeys, there is never a dull moment as they play and fight in equal measure. I must have spent about an hour with them on this day.
8. At the time did you think that the injured monkey was being given CPR?
As a wildlife photographer, these action moments always suck you in. It is hard to distance yourself from letting your imagination run wild. I lunged for my camera the second I saw it, as I genuinely believed that was what happened. After the excitement wore off, and the monkey rolled over to get its armpit groomed, I realised that this wasn't the case. Never the less it was an amusing moment to capture!
9. And finally, please could you describe the images in your own words including why you like them?
The images are a sequence of shots that seemingly shows a Vervet monkey giving another Vervet monkey CPR. I love capturing images that make the audience laugh or smile. Wildlife photography should be something that brings joy to people's lives, and I think for that reason, this sequence works.
Solent did an amazing job at marketing this series, I cannot recommend the company enough. Not only did they do an amazing job selling the story, 24 hours later I had already been paid.