Fake Covid-19 related pictures go viral: Swans, dolphins return to Venetian canals; elephants drunk in China

As the Covid-19 pandemic tightens its deadly grip around the globe, one city after another is being placed under complete lock-down. Several pictures have appeared online of animals at places that were earlier predominantly occupied by humans. These too good to be true pictures have gained millions of likes and are being widely shared on the premise that as humankind is stuck indoors, nature has bounced back.

But the reality is far from true

Fake pictures of animals in quarantined cities shared online

Fake animal pictures

Kaveri Ganapathy Ahuja's tweet regarding swans having returned to Venetian canals has garnered more than a million likes and over 282,000 retweets.

"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," her tweet reads.

Fake animal pictures

Only, that swans haven't returned, because they regularly appear in the canals of Burano, a small island in the greater Venice metropolitan area, where the picture was taken.

Kaveri's logic stands on the premise that with reduced human activity due to a complete lock-down in Italy, water pollution has declined enabling animals to reappear.

A January 26 Instagram post of Burano features swans and Italy recorded its first confirmed Covid-19 case on January 31.

According to Kaveri, she came across those pictures on social media and decided to put them together in a tweet, National Geographic reported.

"The tweet was just about sharing something that brought me joy in these gloomy times", she said. She hadn't expected that the tweet would go viral. "I wish there was an edit option on Twitter just for moments like this," she added.

Still, she hasn't deleted the tweet, possibly due to the "unprecedented" number of likes and retweets.

Fake animal pictures

Similarly, pictures of drunk elephants in China's Yunan province went viral.

"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," the a claimed.

Fake animal pictures

This fake news was busted by none other than China's Xinhua News Agency, according to which, although elephants' presence was recorded recently, they aren't the elephants in the viral photos, and they didn't get drunk and pass out in a tea field.

Another post of dolphins having arrived in Venetian canals due to clear water has gone viral.

However, the dolphins were filmed at the port of Cagliari in Sardinia, around 750 km away from Venice.

Related topics : Coronavirus