A set of images showing a leopard and cow sitting close together is going viral on Facebook, as a heartwarming tale of compassion in animals.
Claim: “These are pictures of a village in Assam (India). A man bought the cow from a neighboring village and brought it to his village. Dogs used to bark at night. People thought that thieves were taking advantage of the lockdown. They installed CCTV and what they saw surprised them. Then they reached the village of the man from whom they had bought the cow and found out that the mother of the leopard had died when she was 20 days old. The people of the village brought the female leopard to the cow and she nursed it. When the child grew up, they left him in the forest, but he did not forget his savior, who fed him. She comes to the forest every night to visit her mother.”
This post by John Helios was shared more than 8,000 times.
1/2. J. Robert Bennett !
“These are pictures of a village in Assam (India). A man bought the cow from a neighboring village and brought it to his village. Dogs used to bark at night. People thought that thieves were taking advantage of the lockdown. @Voice_For_India pic.twitter.com/rBwE0rFoYb
— B R Reddy (@brreddy2019) May 15, 2020
We tried to verify the origins of the image by carrying out a reverse image search and found a post made in April 2014 which gave us the details.
According to the story published on the website On Forest, the incident took place in a village called Antoli in Vadodara, Gujarat in 2002. The leopard’s mother did not die when it was 20 days old but was captured and released into a nearby forest because of the villagers’ concerns.
The cow in the images belonged to a family that lived on the fringes of the village, and the leopard (identified as a female sub-adult) used to sit with the cow, as a calf would with its mother. The claim that the cow had previously nursed the leopard as a cub is also untrue.
The Times Of India also reported this incident on October 25, 2002. (Link)
Thus, these images shared are old and are being shared with the wrong claims.