Alpacas, monkeys and cat island: best animal photos of 2015

The Reuters photo desk has picked the top animal photos of the year, and they're giving the folks at the CBC News photo desk the warm and fuzzies.
Cats crowd the harbour on Aoshima Island in the Ehime prefecture in southern Japan Feb. 25, 2015. An army of cats rules the remote island in southern Japan, curling up in abandoned houses or strutting about in a fishing village that is overrun with felines outnumbering humans six to one. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

There's no cat-herding required when cats outnumber people six to one.

Japan's cat island captured the hearts and minds of cat lovers everywhere in 2015 when photographer Thomas Peter's photos of Aoshima Island popped up in magazines and online.

It's one of the top animal photos of the year. Check out Reuters' picks for top dog here:

When Georgian streets flooded this summer, animals from the local zoo managed to escape their enclosures and make a run for it — or, in the case of this hippo, a stroll for it. Some were captured, while others were unfortunately killed.

A hippopotamus walks across a flooded street in Tbilisi, Georgia, June 14, 2015. Animals from the city's zoo including tigers, lions, bears and wolves escaped from cages damaged by the rainfall. (Beso Gulashvili/Reuters)

Don't despair, monkey! You haven't lost your snack — it's on your head. Capuchin monkeys are known for being extremely resourceful foragers, collecting food from a variety of sources. 

A black cap capuchin monkey plays with some food in its enclosure at the Olmense Zoo in Olmen, Belgium, Sept. 2, 2015. (Yves Herman/Reuters)

Newborn pandas are normally about the size of a stick of butter, or 1/900th the size of the mother. These pandas pictured range in age from one week to two months. They were born in a Chinese giant panda breeding centre in 2015.

Giant panda cubs are seen inside baskets during their debut appearance to visitors at a giant panda breeding centre in Ya'an, Sichuan province, China, Aug. 21, 2015. (Stringer/Reuters)

Who needs a pony when you've got a giant pig? 

Pig breeder Zhang decided to keep Big Precious as a pet instead of killing her when she reached 600 kilograms in heft.

Farmer Zhang Xianping rides his pig "Big Precious" during an interview with the media, in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China, Nov. 2, 2015. (Stringer/Reuters)

"Dogs and their owners took part in a variety of distance and accuracy tests during the competition to check their Frisbee skills," writes Reuters of the Russian Frisbee competition.

A dog catches a frisbee during a dog frisbee competition in Moscow, Sept.13, 2015. (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)

Ever feel like there's a monkey on your back? Mjukuu was the first silverback gorilla born to the Western Lowland gorilla group in Sydney, Australia. Mjukuu is Mbeli's first child. Most female gorillas have babies every four or so years.  

A Western Lowland Gorilla baby named Mjukuu that was born in October 2014 rides on the back of its Mother Mbeli in their enclosure at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, May 19, 2015. (David Gray/Reuters)

In early 2015, Thai officials raided a Buddhist temple home to more than 140 tigers on suspicion of wildlife trafficking. After an investigation by local authorities, it appears the tigers were returned to the monks.

A Buddhist monk plays with a tiger at the Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, otherwise known as Tiger Temple, in Kanchanaburi province Feb. 12, 2015. (Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters)

A photographer snapped this adorable moment while on assignment covering the implications the new Trans-Pacific Partnership would have on Quebec dairy farmers.

Dairy cows nuzzle a barn cat as they wait to be milked at a farm in Granby, Que., July 26, 2015. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

Some zoo animals caught in last summer's heatwaves were given treats to help them cool off, like watermelon …

Cezar, a 32 year-old polar bear eats a watermelon in its enclosure in Belgrade's zoo, Serbia July 20, 2015. (Marko Djurica/Reuters)

… And orange drink.

A chimpanzee tries to cool off in the summer heat in Shenyang, China, July 12, 2015. (Reuters)

No, this isn't a flying fish. The photo was snapped by catching the aquarium fish as it swam past a window.

A tropical fish swims in a fish tank as a passer-by walks at a business district in Tokyo, July 2, 2015. (Toru Hanai/Reuters)

A mom elephant and her infant share a moment. The Asian elephant population has declined rapidly over the past three generations. In captivity, female Asian elephants have lived to see more than 60 birthdays.

A newborn Asian elephant is helped by his mother Farina to stand up at Pairi Daiza wildlife park, a zoo and botanical garden in Brugelette, Belgium, May 25, 2015. (Francois Lenoir/Reuters)

Have you hugged an alpaca today? Vella-Gatt settled in Portugal after moving from England in 2009 to set up Monte Frio Alpacas. Her 14 alpacas produce about 50 kilograms of wool annually. 

Lisa Vella-Gatt, 46, is pictured here with one of her alpacas at her farm near Benfeita, Portugal May 11, 2015. (Rafael Marchante/Reuters)

A tiny jaguar at a Mexican zoo got some time in the spotlight this year. This little guy will grow to weigh about 100 kilograms.

A keeper feeds a four-week-old jaguar while presenting it to the media, at a zoo in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Oct. 14, 2015. (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

Even more animals!

And in case those just simply weren't enough animals for you, click through this gallery for more of the Reuters photo agency's best animal photos of 2015 here:


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