A nearly two-decade-old photo capturing an unlikely bond formed between a cow and leopard in Gujarat has been revived and shared on social media with a moving but false narrative calling it an incident from Assam.
BOOM found that the photo capturing the unusual pairing in the animal kingdom was taken in 2002 in Vadodara district of Gujarat.
The viral image has been tweeted with a claim that the leopard had been fed by the cow as a cub ever since its mother died.
The caption with the viral picture reads 'In Assam a person bought a cow. During night he heard the dogs barking, it happened for successive nights; so he got CCTV installed. He was surprised to see that a leopard visited every night and sat near the cow. On inquiring from the previous owner, he got to know that the mother of this leopard was killed when the cub was only 20 days old. The cow fed him her milk and saved his life. The cub was left off in the jungle as it grew up. But, the fully grown leopard comes every night and still spends time with the cow, whom it considers as his mother'.
The image was tweeted by Janmajit Shankar Sinha (archive) on July 11, 2020 and has been retweeted over 7,500 times since then.
In Assam a person bought a cow. During night he heard the dogs barking, it happened for successive nights; so he got CCTV installed. He was surprised to see that a leopard visited every night and sat near the cow. On inquiring from the previous owner, he got to know that the.. pic.twitter.com/2PL5H7QIE8— Janmajit Shankar Sinha (@janmajit007) July 11, 2020
Jammu and Kashmir's former chief minister Omar Abdullah had quote-tweeted (archive) Sinha's tweet calling it an amazing story.
What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing. https://t.co/YCGQSNacSB— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) July 11, 2020
The picture has been shared on several Facebook pages with the same narrative.
BOOM performed a reverse image search on the picture and found an article published on April 6, 2014 in online portal Onforest.com under the headline 'Stranger than Fiction-A Leopard and motherly Cow'. The report carries pictures and sketches of the same incident.
The report mentions that the unbelievable relationship between the cow and a young wild leopard was reported in Antoli village in Vadodara district of Gujarat in 2002.
The report further states that a leopardess who had littered in the sugarcane fields in the village was caught by the forest officials and released in the nearby forest area. However, one of the young ones of the leopardess was left behind and it started frequenting the village.
BOOM also came across a Times Of India report published on October 25, 2002 about the same incident.
The report mentions that the young leopard would venture out from the maize fields in the village at around midnight and come close to this particular cow and 'cuddle' with it.
BOOM also came acroos a ZEE TV report uploaded on YouTube on September 26, 2008 showing a footage of the same incident. The details in the report are similar to Times of India and OnForest reports.
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