Just yesterday my wife and I were oohing and aahing at some pictures at telegraph.co.uk
of meerkats taking photos of themselves. The text told how an inquisitive meerkat, at Longleat Safari Park, had clambered up the tripod of a camera accidentally left in their enclosure. The meerkat had then "explored the controls and managed to take three family photos." The photo of the meerkat sitting behind the camera was really cute.
Nope. Turns out it was a hoax
. I should have known. When Amateur Photography magazine queried Keith Harris, head warden at Longleat, he responded:
"It started off as a joke. It was a slight hoax. The meerkats didn't take any pictures at all."
Mr Harris told the magazine that the pictures had been misinterpreted and were only intended to be cute pictures of meerkats playing with equipment.
The photos were later passed on to Southwest News Service.
Paul Walters, picture editor at Southwest News Service, said he took the photographs "in good faith" and that they were presented as the work of the meerkats. "We've been duped ultimately," he said.