Tigers Engulfed in Flames of Australian Bushfires? No, Think Again

Of late, news and photos of the devastating bushfires in Australia have rocked the world. Photos of charred bodies of kangaroos and koalas, among other animals, have flooded social media as people react in shock and horror to the damage to Australia's wildlife population.

According to reports, more than one billion mammals, birds and reptiles may have been affected by the fires raging across the country, a report by The Washington Post said.

At the same time, some of the wildly viral photos are not from the bushfires and have been misappropriated from unrelated incidents.

Also Read: Australia Bushfires Force Canberra International Relocation  

CLAIM

Among some of the most viral photos of animals killed in the Australian bushfires are the photos of tigers caught in a mid-snarl as they are consumed by flames. Many people have been sharing these photos with the claim that they show these animals being killed in the bushfires.

These two photos can also be seen in this video, about the effect of the wildfire in Australia, right at the end of the clip.

Huge #wildfire in Australia has resulted in deaths of more than 480 milion animals #Hundred of rare koalas are also reported dead among them. End of era One after another. Lets #pray for Australia

Posted by Amit bhadana on  Monday, January 6, 2020

The video is captioned: "Huge #wildfire in Australia has resulted in deaths of more than 480 million animals..."

It combines multiple photos of animals killed in the fires, suggesting that they are of the currently raging wildfires. The collection of photos also includes the following four.

TRUE OR FALSE?

While the photos of the tigers are both old and completely unrelated, the other three photos in the video are from a previous bushfire in Australia and not from the current crisis. The last one, shown above, is from a wildfire in California.

Also Read: Australia May List Koalas as ‘Endangered’ Amid Bushfire Crisis

WHAT WE FOUND

Tigers Engulfed in Flames

On running a reverse image search on the photos of the tigers on fire, we came across an article by Daily Mail, which said that the incident was from 2012 and showed stuffed carcasses of the tigers being set on fire in Jakarta.

According to the article, authorities in Indonesia's Jakarta had confiscated the stuffed carcasses of animals — which had been killed by poachers — from the homes of buyers.

The article further explained that in Indonesia trading in or being in possession of certain protected animals or their body parts – such as the Sumatran tiger – is an offence.

Therefore, the photos of the tigers are not only old but also from a completely unrelated incident.

Older Wildfires From Australia and Elsewhere

On running a reverse image search on the first three photos in the video mentioned before, we found that while they were in fact from the Australian bushfires, they were old.

The Quint found that both the photos above showed the death of animals in a bushfire that had broken out in South Australia’s Bangor, Eden Valley and Riverland.

We came across both the photos in the same 2014 news article by ABC News, which stated that they showed dead livestock in a scorched field in Bangor.

The article was dated 21 January 2014, making it clear that the photos are from a previous bushfire in Australia.

On searching for the image above, we found it in a CNN article from 2013 about the effects of yet another bushfire that had broken out in Australia.

The caption of the photo explained that it showed burnt sheep lying in New South Wales and went on to add that nearly 10,000 sheep had died in the bushfires which affected parts of Australia, such as New South Wales.

Therefore, while this photo does show animals killed in Australian bushfires, it is not from the one raging at the moment.

Further, on searching for the above photo, we found it in a 2018 article by National Geographic, which claimed that the photo was from California.

"A cow walks by flames from the Rim fire near the Yosemite National Park border in Groveland, California, on 24 August 2013," the caption stated.

Therefore, it is clear that the above photo was certainly not from a wildfire in Australia, but one that hit California in 2013.

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