By Josh Saunders
Traveller takes amazing animal selfies mirroring their hilarious poses and expressions in REAL LIFE DOCTOR DOLITTLE MOMENTS
Laura Exposito, 30, crouched with kangaroos, gurned with llamas, ogled with owls, oinked with pigs, smiled with sheep and more in her humorous shots, while travelling around the world.
For the paw-fect picture, it took around a hundred individual snaps and up to an hour for each attempt to get the animals to pose correctly.
She says ‘animals are like children’ and each selfie took ‘a lot of patience’, with the most troublesome animal, an alpaca, nearly spitting on her.
Laura volunteered at Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary in Agnes Water, Queensland and Farm Animal Rescue, a vegan farm in Brisbane, for mistreated animals and those saved from the slaughterhouse.
Taking inspiration from the ‘Doctor Dolittle’ selfies of Allan Daxon, she was inspired by the bizarre facial expressions pulled by all the animals during her travels – making nearly 100 selfies herself.
Laura, a Green building project officer, from Paris, France, said: “I have always loved animals since I was a child and never had the time to volunteer with them until taking a year off to explore the world.
“I knew Daxon’s animal selfies and one day in Myanmar I took a selfie with a cat and decided to start doing my own.
“I enjoyed taking the pictures, it was really fun but took a lot of time – each takes between ten minutes and an hour.
“Sometimes, you end up taking over 100 pictures for the one that’s really good.
“It takes such a long time because they are animals, you can’t communicate with them and tell them what you want them to do.
“They are like children, they do what they want so you just have to try, try and try again.
“Seeing the animals’ facial expressions inspired me, the sheep looked like they were smiling and so that one was pretty easy to imitate.
“The llamas and alpacas were the hardest to work with because I was scared they would spit on me, they have a bad character and don’t like to be approached too closely.
“My favourite of the animal selfies was the one with the pig where I imitated opening my mouth like him, the kangaroo where I was in the same crouching position and one with a calf, called Alfie.
“Alfie, the calf, had been saved from the dairy industry, he was special because he made me realise I was going to be vegan and it was like I was doing it for him.
“The others I found really great and very funny, but you need to have a lot of patience with the animals to get the shots you like.
“I really enjoyed taking all the animal selfies and I do miss it, but I still have some more plans to take more in the future.”
Of Laura’s encounters with the animals, her favourite was with an Charlybird, an Australian parrot known locally as a Gallah, who became an unlikely companion.
She says over time she realised birds have emotions similar to humans and her feathered friend even tried to leave the sanctuary with her.
Laura said: “Charlybird’s previous owners mistreated him, he was locked in his cage and never able to leave.
“Since his rescue in Horizon Kangaroo Sanctuary, he can fly free and every night he comes back to his little home, he loves to spend most of his time freely sitting on the owner’s shoulder.
“One day I started to play ball with him and he was literally giving the ball back to me whenever I pushed it to him.
“After that moment, he let me pet him and started to purr – it was really enjoyable and a great moment for me because I was ignorant to birds having feelings like that.
“From that day on, we became friends and he used to sit on my shoulder, even on the day I left he flew after our van trying to catch up with me, which was very sweet.
“Normally he would cling onto the wing mirror, but when he followed us this time we had to accelerate to try to prevent him from following us.
“We tried to speed away but as soon as we got to our destination and left the van, he landed on my shoulder again, he had flown all the way to catch up with us.
“It was one of the sweetest moment of my life, unfortunately we had to separate and he had to go back home.
“It was sad but it touched me and comfort me that animal needs respect because they obviously have feelings too.”
Laura became vegan from her experiences volunteering with the animals and saw her time working there as a way to tell people ‘eating meat and exploiting animals is bad because they have feelings, just like us’.
She said: “It was a very tough job but rewarding, it started at 6 am and finished at 6 pm, it was mainly cleaning poo and feeding the animals.
“The animals there have been saved from the slaughter house and all of them have sad stories about their treatment prior to being rescued.
“Two of the rescued calves on the sanctuary were put in a corner of a dairy farm and were waiting to die because they were too weak to produce meat and it cost to much money to heal or euthanize them.
“Thankfully someone called the sanctuary who healed them and give them a second chance at life.
“I stopped eating cheese since I knew the entire process to produce milk: the cows have to be inseminated all the time, and separated from their baby so they don’t drink the milk humans want to use.”
For Laura, volunteering at sanctuaries in Australia helped reiterate the importance of not consuming animal products but also supporting sanctuaries rather than zoos.
She said: “Animals are not objects, I think it’s important to visit sanctuaries to meet the animals rather than zoos as the animals are free there.
“Imagine yourself would you be happier in a cage or free, it’s the exact same thing for animals.
“Most of the times they are separated from their families, in circuses they are beaten to make sure they perform and it can appear they have taken sedatives which aren’t good for them.
“I’m sure if you know all of that, you do not want to participate in supporting these operations.”
You can follow her on: www.instagram.com/lauraxp