Rare Malabar Civet Resurfaces in India in COVID Shutdown: Fact Check


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Image about Rare Malabar Civet Resurfaces in India in COVID Shutdown
Rare Malabar Civet Resurfaces in India in COVID Shutdown

Story:

Spotted Malabar civet… A critically endangered mammal not seen until 1990 resurfaces for the first time in India during lockdown.

Other Versions

Spotted Malabar civet… A critically endangered mammal not seen until 1990 resurfaces for the first time in Calicut town.. seems mother earth is rebooting! #COVID2019

Fact Check:

An interesting video is viral on social media alleging to show a Rare Malabar Civet Resurfaces on a street of India. Accompanying messages claim the critically endangered mammal not seen until 1990 resurfaces for the first time in Calicut town. They also suggest mother Earth seems to be rebooting after the nationwide lockdown in India due to Coronavirus outbreak. Despite the popularity of the claim, it is not true and explained here.

Malabar Civet Resurfaces in India?

After the nationwide lockdown in India to combat the deadly Coronavirus, streets turned total silent. The short video viral on various social media platforms is real. It in fact shows a Civet walking on an almost empty street and crossing the main road. Some said the animal was the rare Malabar Civet last seen in 1990, resurfacing again amid the complete shutdown in India. Likewise, onlookers were amazed and confused over the identity of the animal. However, the animal in the video is a small Indian Civet, according to a zoology teacher of a nearby school, Dr Abdulla Paleri.

It appeared on 26th March 2020 in Meppayoor bazaar in a town in Kozhikode (Calicut) district of Kerala state in South India. The small Indian Civet is in fact relatively common and not the critically endangered mammal Malabar Civet. Parveen Kaswan from Indian Forest Service also explained on Twitter the Civet is natural to this place and is very much found in urban areas.

There is no forest nearby, so people believe the mammal traversed a long distance from a forest to reach the town. Note, in the background are also a small group of policemen patrolling. So, some suggested the Civet must be pretty old as it had bad eyesight coming onto road despite their presence. Another Twitter user M D Madhusudan suggested the animal may be dehydrated or unwell.

On the other hand, Malabar Civet or Malabar large-spotted civet (Viverra civettina) is endemic to the Western Ghats of India and in fact critically endangered.

Hoax or Fact:

Hoax.


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