Are Elephants Really Getting Drunk During Coronavirus While We’re Social Distancing?


Getty While we’re all social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, people are sharing a viral photo of reportedly “drunk” elephants.

A viral photo has been circulating claiming elephants have been getting drunk off of corn wine while humans are social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a cute image to see and might brighten people’s day, but it’s not true.

Frozen actress Kristen Bell posted the viral image, which was originally posted to Twitter on March 18, to her social media account on March 20. It reads, “While humans carry out social distancing, a group of 14 elephants broke into a village in Yunan province, looking for corn and other food. They ended up drinking 30 kg of corn wine and got so drunk that they fell asleep in a nearby tea garden.”

There are two photos included in the post. One shows some elephants wandering through a garden or farm, and the other shows two elephants sleeping next together.

So Is It True?

According to KTVB, Chinese authorities denied that elephants broke into a farm and got drunk while people are social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak.

The first photo, which shows elephants roaming around a garden, has been around since December of 2019 when it was used for an article about the Asian Elephant Research Center in Yunnan. 

What About The Sleeping Elephants?

A user on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, first posted the picture of the sleeping elephants, KTVB wrote. The person claimed also claimed the pachyderms got drunk in a tea garden.

While China News Service confirmed there was a herd of elephants in the same town the Weibo user claimed, they denied that the viral photos were of those elephants. They also repudiated that the elephants were intoxicated.

Dolphins Return To Venice

There might not be a bunch of drunk elephants walking around China, but there are dolphins in Venice. Italy’s tourism industry has taken a drastic hit as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads thoughout the world—globally there are more than 255,000 cases and over 10,000 deaths—but Italy has started to see signs of wildlife return to their canals.

With less boat traffic, the waters have started to clear up, Pierpaolo Campostrini, the managing director for Consortium for Managing Research Activities in the Venice Lagoon, told ABC News in an email. “The low turbidity of the water does not mean cleanliness,” Campostrini said. “The transparency is due to the absence of sediment resuspension.”

Italy has been one of the hardest-hit countries. The nation of 60 million has been on total lock down since March 9. As of Thursday, more than 41,000 coronavirus cases and 3,400 deaths had been confirmed in Italy.

In China, they reported no increase in domestically transmitted coronavirus cases two days in a row. However, they are fearful of a second wave emerging after 39 new cases of coronavirus that stemmed from overseas travel were reported, CNN reported. Mainland China has a death toll of 3,248 and total confirmed cases of 80,967.

To stem a potential second wave, Beijing is requiring all passengers arriving from overseas to go into “collective quarantine at designated facilities.”

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