Updated: May 24, 2021 10:52:23 am
As Cyclone Tauktae ravaged several part of Gujarat this week, wrecking havoc in many coastal districts, people were also concerned about the wildlife in the state. The state forest department tried to allay the fears by tweeting out a video that claimed to show a pride of lions in Gir crossing a stream. The video, however, is fake and is originally of African lions taken at the Mala Mala Game Reserve in South Africa. Hours later, the video was deleted and apology was issued.
A top IAS officer from the state tweeted a video of African lions crossing a waterway surrounded by tall Savanah grass. “Lions are completely safe in Gir landscape in the aftermath of #Tauktecyclone,” Dr Rajiv Kumar Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary of Forest & Environment Department, Gujarat had tweeted.
Tagging the Gujarat Forest Department, he further added that field staff has kept constant monitoring on lion movement in the region during the cyclone. “A rare video of a Pride in Akolvadi range Gir West crossing a water way safely, being shared,” he wrote while sharing the clip.
Dr Gupta deleted the video and issued a clarification on Twitter saying “it is regretted”. “The clip in question was sent by me as it was forwarded to me by an eminent wildlife enthusiast. Prima facie in the clip it appeared from Gir landscape,” said Dr Gupta in a statement.
It is regretted that a wrong video was posted along with statement of Lion safety in Gir landscape.PCCF(Wild Life)Sh Shyamal Tikadar has apologised for his lapse & indiscretion.Inconvenience &confusion caused is sincerely regretted with an assurance for double caution in future. pic.twitter.com/ibs6n31LCU
— Dr Rajiv Kumar Gupta (@drrajivguptaias) May 21, 2021
Rajya Sabha lawmaker Parimal Nathwani, who had also shared the video, deleted it and tweeted a clarification.
Regret any confusion and inconvenience caused by quoting the wrong location & time of the video of the lion pride. It was put as forwarded and is now deleted.
— Parimal Nathwani (@mpparimal) May 21, 2021
The original tweet had triggered celebrations on social media that the lions were safe. However, in reality, the video is not from Gujarat, India, but from South Africa. The beautiful moment was captured after a torrential rain in the Mala Mala Game Reserve, located within the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Mpumalanga province. It is one of the biggest and oldest private game reserve in South Africa. The clip was shared on Instagram by the reserve in February this year.
The tweet was also retweeted by the official handle of the Gujarat Forest Department and Union Minister for Environment and Forest, Prakash Javadekar. “Happy to know that #LionsAreSafe in Gir landscape post #Tauktecyclone . Kudos to the @GujForestDept staff for constant monitoring,” the minister wrote while resharing the clip.
Happy to know that #LionsAreSafe in Gir landscape post #Tauktecyclone . Kudos to the @GujForestDept staff for constant monitoring. @moefcc @PIB_India @PIBAhmedabad @DDNewsGujarati @DDNewslive https://t.co/eOm8mkRkSI
— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) May 20, 2021
Although the video in question appeared to be fake, earlier on Wednesday, the Gujarat forest department assured that the lions in the state’s forest areas were safe amid the cyclone. DT Vasavada, Chief Conservator of Forests, Junagadh Wildlife Circle, said that no lions have gone missing due to the storm that hit Gujarat. All the lions of Gir-Brihadgir are safe.
જુનાગઢ વન્યપ્રાણી વર્તુળના મુખ્ય વન સંરક્ષક ડી.ટી.વસાવડાએ જણાવ્યું કે ગુજરાત પર ત્રાટકેલાં વિનાશક તૌકતે વાવાઝોડાને કારણે કોઈ પણ સિંહો ગુમ થયા નથી,ગીર-બૃહદગીરના તમામ સિંહો સલામત છે.વન વિભાગ દ્વારા સિંહોની સલામતી માટે સતત મોનીટરીંગ કરી સુરક્ષા માટે તમામ પગલાં લેવાઈ રહ્યાં છે pic.twitter.com/1mF7KMMxVp
— GujaratForestDept (@GujForestDept) May 19, 2021
The department had also issued a letter to state their claim and shared two images showing the protected wildcats safely roaming in their natural habitat.
— GujaratForestDept (@GujForestDept) May 19, 2021
The fake video started to get a lot of attention online, with many many falling for it and netizens lauding the forest officials for protecting the animals amid the storm. However, there were others who quickly noticed that the topography of the region doesn’t match the video and some also highlighted that the wildcats seen in the video are not Asiatic Lions.
that’s from south africa not gir🤦🏻♂️ https://t.co/Ggl8JgUOKK
— Jay Kholiya. (@JayyKholiya) May 21, 2021
This is not from GIR and Those are not an Asiatic Lions.
— Vijay Patel (@vjaypat) May 20, 2021
— Lions of Gir (@LionsGir) May 20, 2021
These lions are of MalaMala Game Reserve and the pride is know as Nkuhuma Pride. This is not Gir.
— sks6676 (@sks_gir) May 20, 2021
Its not Gir video
— Saurabh Patel #WearAMask (@saurabhpatelseo) May 21, 2021
WA is so powerful that everyone thought it’s a correct message…
— dharmesh (@dharamdeep) May 20, 2021
@PMOIndia @CMOGuj Sirji this is video of Malamala game reserve footage from south africa. Kindly check twice before sharing information and putting fake video sir. There is link below you can check it. https://t.co/M2aH83CHaG
— Milan Bharad (@milan_bharad) May 20, 2021
सर जी यह अफ्रीका का वीडियो है आप ने जांच भी नहीं की और शेयर कर दिया
— Amit Kotadia (@722b60f56ffd4cb) May 21, 2021
Is it Gir? Such a lush green at this time? In May? In just one rain fall..wow👌👍
— Kaushal Magiawala (@kmagiawala) May 20, 2021
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Thursday conducted an aerial survey of flood-ravaged Gir Somnath and Amreli districts before visiting these districts and assuring affected people that the government was with them in the hour of crises. The CM also announced that the government would pay cash doles to fishermen whose livelihood has been affected by Cyclone Tauktae.
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