If you’ve seen and shared social media posts showing photos of wild animals reappearing in nature and around quarantined cities as humans stay at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re sorry to tell you this, but they’re not real.
A recent article published by National Geographic debunked a few of the viral posts, namely the tweets about swans and dolphins seemingly enjoying the canals of Venice and elephants getting drunk on corn wine in a Chinese village.
Apparently, swans often flock towards the canals of Burano, a small island in Venice, and is not because of the absence of humans due to the quarantine. The dolphins allegedly spotted along the same Venetian canals are also fake — they were filmed at a port in Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea, miles and miles away from where the tweet claims the dolphins were found.
Here’s an unexpected side effect of the pandemic – the water’s flowing through the canals of Venice is clear for the first time in forever. The fish are visible, the swans returned. pic.twitter.com/2egMGhJs7f
— Kaveri ?? (@ikaveri) March 16, 2020
Venice hasn’t seen clear canal water in a very long time. Dolphins showing up too. Nature just hit the reset button on us pic.twitter.com/RzqOq8ftCj
— Gianluca De Santis (@b8taFPS) March 17, 2020
Meanwhile, a Chinese news site also debunked the story that elephants “passed out” after drinking corn wine in the tea fields of Yunan province, though they did confirm that elephants passed through the province recently. However, it’s unclear whether these were the same elephants pictured in the tweet.
While humans carry out social distancing, a group of 14 elephants broke into a village in Yunan province, looking for corn and other food. They ended up drinking 30kg of corn wine and got so drunk that they fell asleep in a nearby tea garden. ? pic.twitter.com/ykTCCLLCJu
— Corono she better don’t (@Spilling_The_T) March 18, 2020
According to the main poster of the tweet about the swans, she was unaware that the creatures regularly appeared along the canals even before the pandemic started.
“The tweet was just about sharing something that brought me joy in these gloomy times,” she told National Geographic. She never expected it to go viral, or to cause any harm. However, she hasn’t deleted the post and doesn’t seem to plan to do so in the near future, calling her days of fame online as a “personal record.”
It just goes to show that we really have to be wary of what we say and share on social media.
What are your thoughts about this? Tell us in the comments below.
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