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Fact Check: Was A Malabar Civet Spotted In India Due To The Coronavirus Lockdown?

Fact Check: A recent video on social media claimed that the Malabar civet was spotted in India which has since then been proven wrong. Read below for details.

fact check

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic is evidently one of the biggest threats faced globally. The outbreak has evidently put the world on hold as various industries have shut down indefinitely. Various major countries across the globe have been put on lockdown which has resulted in little to no human activities taking place in once crowded places. As humans around the world seem to be in lockdown, animals have found a never before experienced freedom to walk around human civilizations without feeling threatened by humans. Various videos and photos of animals walking around in cities have surfaced on the internet in recent days, but various fake videos have also been going around. 

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Claim- 

A recent video claims that the Malabar civet was spotted in Calicut town. Malabar civet one of the most endangered species in India and hasn't been spotted since the 1990s. The video claims that less human activity has resulted in the return of the Malabar civet in Calicut. The video has received over 1.6 million views since it was uploaded. 

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Rating - False

What is false?

  • The animal showcased in the video is not a Malabar civet, but a small Indian civet. 
  • Malabar civets are critically endangered and no sighting of that specific civet has happened since the 1990s. 
  • Though the video is not doctored, it does not show the Malabar civet. 

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Origin

The short clip was first uploaded on March 26, 2020, and received over nine thousand comments within a few days with over 1.6 million views. People started claiming that the sighting of a rare animal like the Malabar civet was because of the Coronavirus lockdown. People were also quick to claim that as human activities reduce, more extinct animals will walk on earth yet again. The same video was also circulated on WhatsApp heavily. Check it out below - 

civet

Also read: Fact check: Is the social distancing image actually of a Puducherry milk booth?

Google Trends analysis of Malabar civet spotted in India

The fake Malabar civet sighting video quickly became viral on the internet. Expectedly, various internet users took to Google and searched for the Malabar civet video which resulted in an upward trend on Google search volumes. Check it out below - 

Malabar civet

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Coronavirus

Image courtesy - Google Trends

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