An image showing a herd of deer lounging on an empty road has been circulating widely on social media, with the claim that it is from the Ooty-Coimbatore highway stretch in Tamil Nadu.
The image is being circulated with the notion that due to the lockdown, people are staying at home, the roads are empty, therefore the wildlife is reclaiming public spaces.
Mrinal Pande, a journalist, was one of many Twitter users who tweeted the image Friday.
"Wildlife reclaiming lost space, Ooty road…" she wrote.
The tweet was liked about 4,600 times and retweeted more than 800 times.
Puri Jagannath, Telugu film director and producer also shared the same image.
"Hundreds of dolphins playing in marine drive in Mumbai, peacocks playing outside KBR park and deers resting on Coimbatore roads. Pl remember we share this planet with them (sic)," he wrote.
IPS officer H.G.S. Dhaliwal made a similar tweet.
A herd of deer was seen lounging on the Ooty-Coimbatore road.
The claim is misleading.
The photo is real but the claim with which it is being shared is not true.
Searching google for the image led to a six-year-old photograph of Sika deer shot in Japan's Nara Park.
It was published along with an article on July 28, 2014 with the headline 'Nara's deer take over one of the city's streets' in Japan Today.
According to the article, "the first thing most people think of when they hear Nara is deer since over 1,000 of the animals live inside Nara Park. But even with roughly 500 hectares (1,235 acres) of space to run around in, sometimes the deer like to stray outside the park's boundaries, such as they do each July when they occupy this sidewalk and stretch of road."
The article mentions that on July 22, 2014, though, Twitter user Mojizuri was startled to see a herd of deer occupying a sidewalk, as well as spilling out into the road itself.
"I've lived here for 10 years, and I've never seen them do this sort of thing before!" Mojizuri wrote.
The Sika deer are known to venture beyond the park's boundaries and wander into gift shops, restaurants and across the street.
In the full photo, a Japanese signboard can be seen.
In the viral photo, this Japanese signboard has been cropped out.
Mrinal Pande later tweeted that the image is not what it was claimed to be.
There's also a video which shows a herd of deer at that same location where the original photo was shot.
The image was actually shared as sarcasm, Netizens, however, fell for the prank and further propagated the false claim.
According to the Nara City Tourism Association (NCTA), Unlike most deer in Japan, Nara's deer live unusually close to humans.
"Please exercise great caution when driving in the vicinity of Nara Park, as the deer are known to jump out suddenly," the association warns. This clearly indicates that the heard found on the road that day is not an unusual phenomenon.
Therefore, the wildlife has not taken over the streets yet.
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