No, This Photo Does Not Show Temple Crocodile Babiya From Kerala
BOOM found that the photograph is a screengrab from a National Geographic documentary Touching the Dragon and shows a crocodile named Pocho.
A screengrab from a documentary showing a man touching his forehead to a crocodile's closed mouth is being shared with false claims that it shows Babiya , the crocodile from a Kerala temple which died on October 9.
BOOM found that the screengrab is taken from a National Geographic documentary Touching the Dragon and shows a crocodile named Pocho and a Costa Rican fisherman named Gilberto Shedden.
According to news reports the crocodile Babiya was found dead on October 9 in the southern side of a lake surrounding Sri Ananthapadmanabha Swamy temple in Kerala's Kasaragod district . The animal was living in the waterbody of the temple for over decades and is believed to be fed only vegetarian food and temple offerings much in contrast to its natural food habits.
Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shobha Karandlaje tweeted the viral photo and claimed that it showed Babiya.
Click here to view the post.
News outlets including Economic Times and ETV Bharat Kannada used the same viral photograph while reporting about the death of the crocodile residing at the Sri Ananthapadmanabha Swamy temple.
Click here to view the post.
BOOM performed a reverse image search on the image and found it on a ScoopWhoop article published on August 2, 2017. The article referred to the crocodile as Pocho and the person seen in the screengrab as a fisherman named Gilberto "Chito" Shedden.
Taking a cue, we ran a keyword search on YouTube and found a documentary on the platform showing the visual at 20:56 minutes timestamp.
The comparison between the viral picture and the scene from the documentary can be seen below.
An excerpt from the description in the YouTube link reads, "Known as the 'Crocodile Man', Costa Rican animal lover 'Chito' swims, plays and even feeds 'Pocho' the giant crocodile in what is one of the world's most unlikely friendships."
We also noticed a National Geographic logo present at the top left corner of the video. Further, a search for "National Geographic Pocho Fisherman" led us to an IMDb page featuring the same person and the crocodile in a poster of a documentary named "Touching the Dragon".
The description states that the documentary was released in 2013 and features Roger Horrocks, Pocho and Gilberto Shedden.
Upon further searches, we found a Reuters article published on February 7, 2007 that throws light on the unique friendship that was struck between Shedden and the crocodile named Pocho. According to the article Shedden, who was 50 years old then, demonstrates a unique bond with the animal, which is otherwise known to have fierce traits. The article further states that Shedden found the crocodile after it was injured in its head 17 years ago. He brought it home and nursed it until it was better. Though Shedden later left it into a lake, the animal found its way back to Shedden's home, thus striking the bond.
A CBS news bulletin states that the famous crocodile Pocho from Costa Rica died in October 2011. Several people also gathered to bid a farewell to the 15-foot-long crocodile.
Was Babiya a vegetarian?
Several reports also claimed that Babiya, the crocodile, was known for being a 'vegetarian' and used to live on temple offerings.
However, social media users countered the claims of the crocodile being vegetarian citing a Facebook post which included a part of a 1997 documentary that showed a live chicken being fed to Babiya. BOOM also reached out to the temple to know about the claim; an official from the temple said that while the crocodile was earlier fed poultry, the practice was stopped in 1998.
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