Meet Naruto. She’s a celebes crested macaques from Indonesia, and she has a penchant for taking epic selfies. But she’s in the middle of some controversy at the moment.

In September last year, animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) in the US filed a lawsuit on behalf of Naruto, asking that the copyright of the now famous images be granted to the monkey.

According to PETA, the US Copyright Act grants copyright ownership of a “selfie” to the “author” of the photograph, and there is nothing in the law limiting such ownership on the basis of species.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the story, a British nature photographer travelled to Indonesia back in 2011 and set up his camera on a tripod, and deliberately left the remote trigger for the camera accessible to the surrounding macaques.

Naruto jumped at this photographic opportunity, and took several shots of herself and other monkeys.

Naruto taking a selfie

Naruto taking a selfie

So back to the story.

PETA are claiming that they are the monkey’s “next friend” and that they should be granted the right to manage the copyright of the images and license them for commercial use, using 100 percent of the proceeds to benefit Naruto and his community – whose habitat and very existence are under threat.

However, PETA recently lost this bid, with the San Francisco court ruling that a monkey cannot be declared the copyright owner of the photos.

PETA are claiming that they will continue to fight for Naruto.

It IS the year of the monkey this year, so maybe Naruto’s luck will change…

This isn’t the first time the issue of animal rights has been the focus of the travel industry, with The Travel Corporation recently signing a new joint initiative with the TreadRight Foundation.

What do you think? Should Naruto be granted the copyright to her selfies? Let us know in the comments below.