Wildlife

India’s Top Wild-Animal Selfies

Krithi Karanth is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and in 2011 received the Society’s 10,000th grant for research and exploration. She is a conservation biologist working to save India’s increasingly fragile ecosystems and threatened animals. Her research utilizes many forms of data, including camera traps, to monitor and conserve a wide variety of Subcontinental creatures.

By Krithi K. Karanth and Arjun Srivathsa

For more than twenty years, camera traps have helped record the otherwise unseen populations of India’s wildlife. Now, with more than a million pictures in the record, we have uncovered spectacular “selfies” from the reserves.

This is just the latest fringe benefit to come from the scientific work with camera traps pioneered by my father, K. Ullas Karanth. The population data and individual animal identification that has resulted through the work of the Wildlife Conservation Society-India enables us to continue to protect these magnificent animals facing ever greater threats and challenges.

But it’s not all serious business for India’s wildlife. In a world besieged by humans constantly snapping selfies … other animals are not far behind.

Some Are Fancy

India is home to the largest population of wild tigers and tiger cubs are typically very secretive.
India is home to the largest population of wild tigers in the world, but even here, tiger cubs are typically very secretive. This camera trapping work has helped reveal that individual tigers can be identified and tracked by recognizing their unique striping. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Striped hyenas are usually found in dry scrub and ravines, and often prey on domestic livestock.
Less massive than their spotted African relatives, striped hyenas are usually found in dry scrub and ravines, and often prey on domestic livestock. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)

Others Are Flighty

Green bee-eaters feed on bees, wasps and ants and they remove stings of the prey by repeatedly beating them.
Green bee-eaters feed on bees, wasps, and ants and they remove the stingers of their prey by repeatedly beating them. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Hoopoes protect their eggs by secreting a fluid to make their eggs smell like rotting meat.
The fancifully head-dressed hoopoes protect their eggs by secreting a fluid to make the eggs smell like rotting meat. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)

Some Are Bold

Leopards are perhaps the most adaptable and versatile large cats in the world and have been found to live in sugarcane fields in India. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
The Crested Porcupine is the largest rodent in India.
Even without its quills standing up, the crested porcupine is the largest rodent in India. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)

Others Are Bashful

Chital (or spotted deer) is the most abundant cervid species in India and a favorite tiger food.
Chital (or spotted deer) is the most abundant cervid species in India and a favorite food of tigers. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
The four-horned antelope is the smallest bovid in India and the males are unique because they have two-pairs of horns.
The four-horned antelope is the smallest bovid in India. Only the males bear the namesake two pairs of horns. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)

Some Are Picture Perfect

Sloth bears feed largely on termites and seasonally on fruits, and mothers carry cubs on their backs for up to nine months.
Sloth bears feed largely on termites and seasonally on fruits, and mothers carry cubs on their backs for up to nine months.  Their fleshy nostrils and lips are used to blow away dirt and vacuum up their insect prey. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
The Hanuman langur commonly lives amongst people and as species has recently been split into seven distinct species.
Hanuman langurs commonly live among people, and though once considered to be a single species, have recently been split into seven distinct species. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)

Others Are Edgy

Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants and their trunks are thought to be comprised of 60,000 muscles.
Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants, but just as curious and intelligent. Their powerful and dexterous trunks are thought to be comprised of 60,000 muscles. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Karanth_6-23-14_12.Sambar
During the rut, sore spots are seen on these sambar deer where the hair and skin sloughs off and exudes a fluid. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)

Some Are Curious

Is also called a 'barking' deer, for it's characteristic loud dog-like barking when alarmed
This wide-eyed visitor is a muntjak, also called a “barking deer” for the loud dog-like vocalizations it makes when alarmed. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Although they are called civet 'cats' for their cat-like appearance, palm civets are not really cats
Although they are called “civet cats” for their cat-like appearance, palm civets are veverrids, not felines, and more closely resemble more primitive carnivores. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)

Others Are Mischievous

These monkeys are often commensal with people and endemic to southern India.
These bonnet monkeys are often commensal and communal with people and are endemic to southern India. (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)
Karanth_6-23-14_2.Human
And of course, even in the wildest parts of India, you’re never far from other curious humans! (Photo by Ullas Karanth/WCS)

All in all it’s a selfie-filled world!

Read More by Krithi Karanth

  • Anupama

    BEAUTIFUL!!! Innocence is a common feature across!!
    🙂

  • Arul Badusha

    Fantastic clicks…

  • Jeevesha

    Beautiful selfies 🙂

  • Ashly A K

    aaahh…LOVED IT !!!!

  • Adey

    Wow, really cool pics. They are all great.

  • Atul

    Beautiful 🙂

  • nafiz

    This made my day.

  • Jacqui

    Brilliant..absolutely love it 🙂

  • Rob Hafner

    Great photos, especially the leopard. That’s just begging to be made into a comical meme. I visit the WCS’s Bronx Zoo with my camera, but there’s no comparison to animals living in their natural habitats. One day, maybe I’ll get to visit them there, too. Until then, thanks so much for sharing, and for the work you do.

  • Erin

    Amazing! Loved them!

  • Lou Anne

    Awee theyre so cute!!

  • donny

    Best wildlife selfies

  • rooa

    Omg that’s kinda funny.. Great animals:**

  • Darpan Maheshgauri

    The last one was the best !!

  • Darren Gimber

    Brilliant captures. A real insights.

  • Gaea

    Brought a smile to my face, this did.

  • Mushtak Pasha

    Every has curiosity – nice auto captures. I like most

  • aline

    Great idea! More beautiful than human selfies. Spread it!

  • Jorge Galrito

    Loved all selfies, but the last one was so unexpected it made me laugh.

  • martine

    LOL the sloth bear!

  • Bexaida

    I love it!!! Awesome!

  • Angela

    Awesome

  • Rick Lloyd

    Amazing #wildfies, but the last one is a K.O. LOL

  • Rocky chaudhry

    nature;s beauty .Lets save all wild animals

  • Jay Kumar

    Krithi the black panther is missing from Wild-Animal Selfies. It would have been the best of the best. 🙂

  • Grace Nugi

    Awww!! All gorgeous! Well done! Just beautiful!

  • Charles R.

    I love nature!!

  • Kiranurs

    Amazing … Been on long wait. To. voulnteer. For camera trap. Activities… Till then pls keep sharing. Keep inspiring…. Thx

  • Jenny

    I love the LOVELY leopard!

  • Steven Holloway

    Very interesting ! I have also seen “selfie” videos on motion detection cameras that proved there were animals in certain parts of the USA that everyone thought was near extinction near populations.

  • Juan

    Love the animals selfi´s. We have the duty to protect all de animal´s..!!

  • Bimla Kochhar.

    Wonderful idea to share these beautiful pictures taken by your father over a long time with captions giving details.it is really good.

  • Paul

    Great photos

  • Dipanjan Mitra

    The best of the series is the last image with the caption. I have not seen a camera trap of a human being before, in the wild. great record shot.

  • Dipanjan Mitra

    India’s Top Wild-Animal Selfies says the title of the article and the last image includes a human. Quite apt actually going by the current global situation. We, human beings are probably worse than those poor wild animals.

  • shridhar

    Wow..never knew hoopoes trick..such an evolutionary adaption..If I am right….:P

  • Donggyu

    What nice photos! These are great photos about wild animals.
    Thanks for your job!
    잘 보았습니다. 사진이 참 재미있고 멋집니다.

  • Hao Tang

    I am love the whole photos. The monkey is best favorite.

  • jmuhj

    Thanks to everyone involved for these amazing, funny, beautiful pix. May we all learn very quickly that we are all animals and that we mammals are hardwired to be compassionate and connected. That means we need to “get it” very fast that we are the stewards — the protectors — of the planet and that we live here with other living beings whose right to this planet is just as sacrosanct as ours.

  • P Noneman

    We have a sloth bear at our zoo but this picture shows them so much more realistically.

  • Tim

    I agree great photos. I wish the trap was shown. Especially the human who was photographed. What drew her to look at the camera? What drew the animals? Was it food?

  • karen t

    AWESOME!!! Living vicariously thru the eyes of NG’s photos takes me all over the world into the natural habitat of creatures I would never otherwise see. Great work!

  • Mark Avery

    Next time, can we also see a photograph of what the animals are looking at? If it’s just a camera, why does it inspire such curiosity? If it’s more than a camera, what is it?

  • NGenthusiast

    Thank you National Geographic for sharing these wonderful photographs and articles.
    I share them with my son!

  • Saibaba

    Excellent selfies, so curious of camera.

  • S.Mohan

    Thanks Kirthi

    Awesome shots ! Real treat for animal lovers.

    I hope more of such places remains intact on earth.

  • Shirley Whitehead

    Really Beautiful!!!! Well done.

  • meri rodby

    What a beautiful world!

  • Trish

    Fantastic idea and wonderful photos. Love the captions so we know what we are looking at as well. National Geographic is not only a protector of nature but an educator to all. Thanks so much

  • Priya

    Great photos but they are not “selfies”. The animals didn’t take them by themselves.

  • Alex

    behtareen..macha

  • JERRY JALEEL

    Fantastic trap-camera shots. Reminds me of the pictures taken by F.W. Champion with a trip-wire camera in 1920s in Northern Indian jungles.

  • Duane

    Keep up the great work Krithi. I enjoyed your concluding photo. We humans have the power to shape our environment to suit our needs; but seem to lack the foresight that we are but renters from a future generation. We need reminders from people such as yourself that the earth is a beautiful yet fragile home to many.

  • Kshitij Degaonkar

    Haha.. amazing collection!
    Animals are such adorable creatures 🙂

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