Fake tweets about dolphins, swans in Italy’s Venice amid Covid-19 lockdown go viral
Tweets about swans, dolphins and elephants are being shared on social media in the last few days as the cases of Covid-19 have ballooned in countries across the globe.
They talk about how animals and birds are making a comeback, and literally, in the world where humans are now going into self-quarantine and practising social distancing.
One of the tweets was by Kaveri Ganapathy Ahuja as she talked about the swans that “returned” to the canals in Venice of Italy, which has been hit the hardest in Europe by the infection.
“Here’s an unexpected side effect of the pandemic. The water flowing through the canals of Venice is clear for the first time in forever. The fish are visible, the swans returned,” Ahuja tweeted on March 17.
Her tweet got hundreds of thousands of retweets and “likes”.
Reports and some Twitter users, however, said the swans have always around in the canals of Burano, an island in the greater Venice metropolitan area.
“Hello!! You actually posted a photograph of my hometown, Burano, the swans live in the lagoon and have actually been there for over 20 years and have never actually left, people feed them in the spring so they roam the lagoon with their cignets and you can often see the fish,” a user replied to Ahuja’s tweet.
Ahuja has said she will not delete her tweet and posted news reports about cleaner waters in the canals to back her claim.
“… No, I won’t delete my viral tweet. And it wasn’t fake, just that swans already existed in Venice (Burano, if you insist),” she said in another tweet.
Another tweet was about dolphins and how they are swimming in Venetian canals.
“Venice hasn’t seen clear canal water in a very long time. Dolphins showing up too. Nature just hit the reset button on us,” Gianluca De Santis posted with video clips of a dolphin.
Reports said the video footage was taken in Sardinia, an Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea, which is hundreds of kilometres away from Venice.
And, the water in the canals was cleaner because there are no motorboats.
Then came a tweet about drunken elephants passed out in a field and it similarly was shared wildly on social media.
“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,” a user,” a user, Corono she better don’t, tweeted.
Local reports denied the viral posts.
“Local authorities in Menghai County, Yunnan deny rumors that a herd of #elephants drank 30kg liquor and passed out in a tea garden. The fact is that elephants went downhill and intruded into villagers’ homes, causing damages,” The Paper, a Chinese digital media outlet, tweeted along with a video of images of rampaging tuskers.
The death toll from the outbreak in Italy leapt by 627 to 4032 on Friday, the highest in any country, surpassing China, with 47,021 confirmed cases.