As COVID19 continues to wreak havoc around the world with Europe and USA being the worst affected, citizens across the world have been confined to their homes due to lockdowns and curfews. These lockdowns have been imposed by respective governments’ in order to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.
As soon as the coronavirus lockdowns started in different countries, Social Media posts with images and videos of animals roaming in deserted cities and enjoying much needed freedom even in their natural habitats have gone viral.
While some of the posts were indeed true, large number of old images have also been circulating on social media with false narrations. We debunked several such stories such as a herd of deer from Japan interpreted as in Sri Lanka, Old Indonesian video claimed to be whales off the sea of Puttalam and 2017 video from Yala National part interpreted as a recent sighting.
On a similar note, a blissful video of a playful deer on a beach has been circulating on Social Media space in Sri Lanka and other parts of the world as well. The video is claimed to be captured from Nilaveli beach in Sri Lanka. Most of social media users who had commented to the video, reacted positively.
Facebook user Chani Bandara posted below the post and claimed the video had been captured near Nilaveli beach in Trincomalee with the below caption.
“Nilaveli beach trincomalee. As nature intended, no humans and it is deer time with the waves…😄❤️”
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Another Facebook user posted “Nilaveli beach is always pack with tourist since lockdown no tourist no humans, a deer independently enjoying playing with waves.”
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The video has also been shared on YouTube with the caption, “Nilaweli Beach Sri Lanka, Without People, They Enjoy It”.
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The video has made its way to Twitter as well with one user posting, “Somewhere in Sri Lanka! Yet another video of our incredible animal kingdom and animals enjoying their spaces which were taken by us”.
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We did a Yandex Reverse Image search on a video frame extracted from the video claimed to be of a deer on the Nilaveli beach and noticed several links for identical content.
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The above Yandex search revealed a link with the same video shared back in December, 2015 by “The DODO”. The Dodo is a popular website which shares emotional animal-related stories and videos.
The article further says that video was taken by Anthony Martin, a French filmmaker.
We further checked Anthony Martin’s Facebook page and found that the original video was uploaded on 10th November 2015. Hence it is clear that the viral video was not filmed during curfew / lockdown in Sri Lanka.
We further investigated to know the exact location of the video and found that it was filmed at the coast of Landes, Southern France.
An article published on 13th November 2015 on “OutDoorHub” says that the video was uploaded to Facebook by French filmmaker Anthony Martin and recorded on the coast of Landes, France. Extract of the article is given below.
“Humans have a fascination with the ocean, and we’re not the only land animals to act like that. Upon seeing the ocean for the first time, this deer is more than happy to frolic amidst the waves. The footage was uploaded recently to Facebook by French filmmaker Anthony Martin. He had recorded it some time ago on the coast of Landes, France and described it as one of his all-time favorite shoots. It seems that the internet agreed. In just a few mere days, the video garnered more than 15 million views”.
The same video of the deer playing on the beach viral in India claiming the location to several parts of India as well and several of our Fact checking teams in India have debunked the claim. Here is a fact check done by Fact Crescendo Marathi team.
However, deer herds near Trincomalee town and beach is a common sight and more these days as the human activities have reduced considerably. A number of actual sightings of deer in Trincomalee have been shared widely in social media stream and even in main stream media. Below is an image captured by AFP few days ago in Trincomalee captioned “A wild deer roams in a deserted street in the port city of Trincomalee.”
From our investigation it is clear that the video of a deer calf playing on Nilaveli Beach during curfew was not captured during the curfew period in Sri Lanka. The original video was captured on a beach in Southern France and was published in November, 2015.
Title:No. This is not a deer calf playing blissfully in Nilaveli beach, TrincomaleeFact Check By: Sathyajith Subasinghe