In the wake of the relocation of Cheetahs from Namibia to India as a part of the Project Cheetah, several unsubstantiated and false information have found their way into social media. It began with many claiming that the Cheetahs would be ferried on an ‘Indian plane’ painted with a Tiger’s face specially for the occasion. Then came the claim that the Prime Minister was using a camera with the lens cap on. Many others also shared a video of a Cheetah yelping, claiming to show the first look of the felines being transferred to India from Africa. However, Newschecker has found this claim to be false.
Several media houses and reporters were among the users who shared the video claiming to show the first look of the Cheetahs being transported from Namibia.
SP leader and former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav also shared the video to take a jibe at the PM, saying “Everyone waited to hear a roar, but it turned out to be a member of the cat family.”
On conducting a reverse image search on the keyframes of the viral video, Newschecker was led to a reddit post by user westcoastcdn19 that read “A bond between two brothers, Kitu and Lavani”. The video showed a longer footage of the now viral video showing a Cheetah yelping. This is followed by another Cheetah coming over and licking the first Cheetah, and purring side by side.
We used this as a clue and conducted a Google search on the keywords “cheetahs kit and lavani” which led us to a video on YouTube published in a channel “The Wild Cat Sanctuary”.
The video showed two Cheetahs strolling into the sanctuary. We also found a page on the website of ‘Wild cat Sanctuary’ on the two Cheetahs. “In April of 2021, The Wildcat Sanctuary welcomed 11 year old cheetah brothers, Kitu and Lavani,” read the write up.
“Kitu is 11 years old. He’s easy to tell from his brother since he has an “Elvis lip.” The left side of his mouth curls up. He settled in to his new life at the sanctuary as if he’s always lived here,” it further informed.
We also found a press release by the sanctuary on the same, published on April 26, 2021.
“The Wildcat Sanctuary is pleased to announce it is now the permanent retirement home for two 11-year-old male cheetahs named Lavani and Kitu. The senior cheetah brothers were retired from an AZA-accredited zoo in California and needed a permanent retirement home. The Wildcat Sanctuary immediately offered to take in the big cats and provide transportation for the 4000-mile round trip. They have just arrived at The Wildcat Sanctuary and are settling in to their new home,” it read.
We further reached out to The Wild Cat Sanctuary who confirmed to us that the Cheetah seen in the video was indeed from their sanctuary and not Namibia. “That video was taken here at our sanctuary in Sandstone, MN,” Tammy Thiem, Founder & Executive Director of The Wild Cat Sanctuary said.
Video claiming to show the first look of the Namibian Cheetahs being translocated to India is actually from Minnesota in the US.
Post on Reddit thread Animals being Bros, November 26, 2021
Web page on the cheetahs Kitu and Lavani on The Wildcat Sanctuary
Press release by The Wild Cat Sanctuary on cheetahs Kitu and Lavani, April 26, 2021
Email correspondence with Tammy Thiem, Founder & Executive Director of The Wild Cat Sanctuary
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