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Bandipur Forest Fire: Fake Pics Go Viral Online

This picture of a burnt orangutan is being circulated as being from Bandipur. Orangutans are not native to Indian forests.
This picture of a burnt orangutan is being circulated as being from Bandipur. Orangutans are not native to Indian forests. 

The Lede analyses pictures of animals – burnt or half burnt –  doing the rounds of social media after the fire in Bandipur National Park

Pictures of half-burnt animals are trending on Twitter, Facebook and also doing the rounds of WhatsApp. They are touted to be the impact of the forest fire raging in the contiguous Bandipur and Mudumalai Tiger Reserves in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, respectively.

The Lede did a reverse image search with these images and found out that many originated from the California wildfire of 2018. Some others are from Indonesia and one from Spain.

A number of media houses have been taken in by these fake pictures doing the rounds of social media.

The Lede also spoke to forest officials of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu regarding deaths of wildlife due to the forest fire that has been raging for two days now.

Mudumalai Tiger Reserve Deputy Director Pusphakaran told The Lede – “There are no animal deaths in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve so far. And pictures doing the rounds of social media are not our native animals. I don’t know why people are doing this. We are receiving more calls because of these fake pictures,” he said.

Subash K Malkhede, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) told The Lede – “As of now there are no animal deaths in Bandipur Tiger Reserve. The pictures circling in WhatsApp and other social media are fake. Don’t believe it and forward it. We are still fighting to put out the fire.”

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