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‘Purring’ cheetah not one of 8 big cats that arrived from Namibia, viral clip shot last year

New Delhi: A video of a growling cheetah has been making rounds on social media with many mainstream news channels claiming that it is one of the eight big cats that were translocated from Namibia and released in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park Saturday.

Former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav posted the video of a cheetah, seen inside a wooden box, with a tweet saying everyone was waiting for a “roar” but instead they got someone belonging to the “cat’s family”. Akhilesh was alluding to the ‘purr’ sound made by the cheetah in the clip.

The video appeared to have been sourced from Navodya Times, a part of Punjab Kesari media group. Till Monday, the clip had over 20 lakh views and more than 13,800 retweets.

Several people including BJP MLA Dinesh Pratap Singh, former diplomat Sujan Chinoy and senior reporter Payal Mehta were quick to remind the Samajwadi Party chief that unlike lions or tigers, cheetahs don’t ‘roar’. Instead, they ‘purr’ like house cats because of their small anatomy. None of them, however, questioned the authenticity or the origin of the video.

Congress MLA Virendra Chaudhary echoed the words of Akhilesh using the popular ‘Vinod’ meme from the TV show Panchayat 2. He took a dig at the Modi government saying the Namibians gave Indian administration a beelota (kitten) instead of cheetah.

An Indian Forest Service officer Susanta Nanda had also uploaded the same video Friday alleging that it was “first of the nine cheetahs” who were ready to travel from Namibia to India. “Here they come,” he had written.

His post had gotten over 22,000 likes and nearly 3,000 retweets. Although a lot of users commented “welcoming them (cheetahs) to India”, concerns were also raised over their release into the Indian forest and difficulties they might face in adapting to local conditions.

The cheetahs were flown from Namibia in Africa by the Narendra Modi-led government in the first and biggest trans-continental conservation experiment of its kind – bringing back a species that went extinct in India 70 years ago.

The big cats — five female and three male — are all wild adults from private reserves in Namibia that have been relocated to special enclosures at the Kuno National Park. According to reports, they were released into wildlife after their arrival.

Hindi-language daily newspaper Dainik Bhaskar had published the viral cheetah video in its news report Saturday titled, “Hear, how is the sound of cheetahs…The cheetah’s voice reached Kuno from Namibia.” The piece said that the video showed the sound of cheetahs arriving from Africa.

Similarly, the Economic Times published the clip of the video being played on Times Now, with their anchor calling it “exclusive visuals” of cheetahs “arriving in the country,” which the viewers were seeing for the “first on their news channel”.

Fact Check

The cheetah video was first published in November last year on YouTube channel ‘Wildcat Sanctuary’. In the clip, a “special relationship” between two cheetahs – brothers named Kitu and Lavani – can be seen. The channel belongs to a non-profit, rescue sanctuary located in the United States. Moreover, the original video is a minute long as opposed to the 15-second clip that went viral.

(in collaboration with SM Hoaxslayer)

Also read: Nikon camera with Canon cover? Modi taking pictures of cheetahs with lens cap on is morphed

Source: The Print

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