Fact Check: Old video of sloth bears in India shared as sighting in Sri Lanka during Coronavirus outbreak

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A video of three sloth bears wandering in a garden is doing the rounds on the internet. Tt is being claimed that the bears were seen in a tea estate in Sri Lanka during the ongoing lockdown to contain COVID-19.
The caption of the post reads: ‘These three beautiful #slothbears were apparently seen in a tea estate in Bandarawela. Extremely rare sight even for a #wildlife enthusiast. Probably the only positive impact of #COVID19. If anyone’s got more info on this kindly share. #SriLanka


NewsMobile fact-checked the above video and found that the claim attached to the video is FAKE.
When we put the keyframes of the viral video through Reverse Image Search, we came across the same video on YouTube dated November 8, 2019. It was posted by Gypsy Tiger, a media and broadcasting production company based in India.

The caption of the video read: ‘Have you ever woken up to such an amazing surprise? A mama sloth bear and her cubs in your lawn! Sloth bears are shy animals and it’s tough to see them in the wild. But Akshay Gaur, who lives near Hallakarai village in Coonoor is very lucky because these bears have decided to pay him a frequent visit. VIDEO shot by Akshay Gaur’.
We further contacted the production company and the spokesperson of the company confirmed that the video was taken in Conoor, Tamil Nadu in 2019 before the Coronavirus outbreak took place.
Our investigation clearly establishes that the sloth bears were not seen in Sri Lanka but in India and much before the pandemic broke out.

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