Photo Of Chimpanzee Hugging A Human Is Not From The Amazon Fire

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The viral photo of a chimpanzee hugging a human, purportedly in the Amazon fire, has been proven fake. The photo was taken originally in Congo 2 years earlier

Written By Tanima Ray | Mumbai | Updated On:
Chimpanzee hugging a man

The story of a chimpanzee pleading to a man by hugging his leg, first published by a Bengali website, and which later appeared on many other publications and websites, has been found to be untrue on September 2.

Netizens mistook the story to represent the precarious state of animals in the current forest fires raging across the Amazon. They presumed that the chimpanzee clung to a man begging him for shelter and safety from the forest fire. But it turns out, the photo was unrelated to the ongoing Amazon forest fires. Have a look at the previous post:

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The real story

Contrary to the claim made online, the picture was originally taken in 2017. It is actually a picture of a female Gorilla from an orphanage in the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa. The young female was attempting to cheer up her human caretaker by hugging and holding him.

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The evidence behind the finding

A simple reverse image search on the viral picture revealed several links to various websites that had already published this picture earlier. Multiple inernational publications carried the story and picture in 2017.

The articles mentioned that the picture was originally taken by photographer Nelis Wolmarans who captured the rare moments of a female Gorilla named Matabishi trying to cheer up her caretaker Matthieu by imitating his sad expressions. This shoot took place at Senkwekwe Mountain Gorilla Orphanage in the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa.

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Why did people fall for the story?

The Amazon rainforest, also referred to as the 'Earth's lungs', is a major carbon dioxide sink - meaning that it helps in reducing the composition of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and thereby combats global warming. The ongoing various forest fires are quickly turning the Amazon forest to ashes and endangering innumerable species of flora and fauna. 

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