Viral footage of a dog escaping from a leopard attack in Nilgiris, India, shared as Sri Lanka!

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Human-wildlife conflict is a concern in many regions and is especially common in most South Asian countries. This phenomenon poses significant challenges, especially to communities living near natural habitats, often resulting in property damage, livestock loss, and, in some cases, even human casualties. Even though the threat is commonplace in the region, sometimes foreign footage has been mistakenly attributed to Sri Lanka. Let’s look at the claim first.

Social Media Posts

The claim circulating on social media suggests that a video depicts a domestic pet dog narrowly escaping from a leopard attack in Maskeliya, Sri Lanka.

Facebook | Archived 

This clip went viral in Sri Lanka, and many mainstream media channels also shared the footage without mentioning the actual location of the video, adding to the confusion. We decided to investigate this further.

Fact Check 

Using the Invid-We Verify tool, we performed a Reverse Image Search on the frames captured from the viral video and managed to locate the origins of the clip. 

Footage from Nilgiris, India Falsely Attributed to Maskeliya

The footage claiming to be Maskeliya in Sri Lanka is, in fact, a CCTV recording from the village of Coonoor in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu, India. The incident encapsulates a moment when a leopard attempted to drag a dog sleeping in the doorway of a house. Tamil media reports confirm that this leopard attack happened in January 2024 in Nilgiris, India, as seen here and here.   

What Happened? Fortunately, a resident intervened, causing the leopard to release the dog from its grasp and flee into the forest. The dog managed to escape unharmed due to this timely intervention.

Leopard Attacks in the Nilgiris Region: 

The hilly area of Nilgiris, where the incident occurred, has seen several leopard attacks in the past, targeting domestic animals and humans. Reports indicate that some individuals have tragically lost their lives in such attacks. It’s important for residents to remain vigilant in areas where human-wildlife conflict is prevalent. Some recent reports from India on these unfortunate attacks can be reached here and here.

Comparative Analysis & Confirmation from Local Journalists: 

Local correspondence from the Maskeliya area in Sri Lanka confirmed that such a leopard attack had not yet happened in 2024. Yet, similar attacks involving elusive mountain leopards (Panthera Pardus Kotiya) on domestic pets had occurred in the past, as seen here.

Availability of CCTV Footage: Clear CCTV footage of such incidents is relatively rare, making this recording particularly notable. While similar incidents may occur elsewhere, the lack of clear video evidence makes it difficult to verify them with certainty.

The similarities in such incidents highlighted in India and Sri Lanka signify the importance of addressing human-wildlife conflicts strategically.

Also Read: Climate Change gives a red light on Sri Lanka’s Leopards.

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In conclusion, contrary to the viral social media posts in Sri Lanka, the incident depicted in the video of a leopard attacking a pet dog took place recently in January 2024 in the Coonoor area in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu, India, and not in Maskeliya, Sri Lanka. The timely intervention of a resident saved the dog from harm, and the footage highlights the ongoing issue of human-wildlife conflict in some areas of both countries.

Read in Sinhala: මස්කෙළිය ප්‍රදේශයේ නිවසකට, දිවියෙකු කඩා වැදුණු අවස්ථාවක CCTV දර්ශන පෙළක් ද?


Title:Viral footage of a dog escaping from leopard attack in Nilgiris, India shared as an incident in SL

Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha 

Result: Misleading

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