A six-year-old photo of a herd of deer lounging in the middle of the road in Japan's Nara region is being shared with the false claim that it is from Ooty-Coimbatore road in Tamil Nadu after the nationwide lockdown came in effect to halt the spread of the deadly Coronavirus.
The image is being shared with the caption, "The Ooty-Coimbatore Road, now reclaimed by its original Owners."
The same viral image was shared on Twitter by IPS officer HGS Dhaliwal with the misleading claim.
We performed a reverse image search using Google images and found that the image was taken in Nara, Japan in July 2014, and not recent or from India.
The search results showed an article dated July 28, 2014, by Japan Today with the headline, "Nara's deer take over one of city's streets" that had the same viral image.
Nara's deer are believed to be messengers of the gods under Shinto belief, and the animals are neither caged nor penned, but instead allowed to roam free around the sprawling expanses of Nara Park according to Japan Today.
A Twitter user named Mojizuri on July 22, 2014 had uploaded the images of deer occupying a sidewalk as was startled to see a herd of deer occupying a sidewalk, as well as spilling out into the road itself reported Japan Today.
On can see a signboard in Japanese in the original image which when translated reads, "To Deer jump out", and the same person sitting on the bicycle clicking with a camera in both the images.
We also found a 5.30 seconds video from the same location as Mojizuri's photos dated July 17, 2014, where one can see a herd of deer occupying the sidewalk.
From Sarcsm To Fake News
The image of the herd of deer sitting in the middle of the street was shared in a sarcastic context, however, it took a life of its own with social media users falling for it.
Click here for the deleted tweet link.
At the time of writing this story Tamil Nadu has reported 26 positive COVID-19 cases, Follow BOOM's LIVE blog for recent updates: Coronavirus LIVE Update: India Reports 13 Deaths, 649 Cases
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