Out of date photos of Amazon fires in Brazil fuel online outrage
Photos purportedly showing fires devouring the Amazon in northern Brazil in recent weeks have flooded social media, but an AFP fact check Wednesday found most of the images are decades old or not even in the country.
Under the hashtag #PrayforAmazonas, users have expressed outrage over official data showing a surge in wildfires in the world’s biggest rainforest between January and August.
Here are some of the images examined by AFP’s fact-checking service.
– Animals suffering? –
1. A photo (A) showing a monkey hugging its apparently dead baby has been one of the most widely shared images. But it was taken in 2017 by Indian photographer Avinash Lodhi (B) in Jabalpur. Lodhi told The Telegraph that the offspring had merely fallen over.
2. The photo of a badly burned rabbit (A) appeared in various posts, but the animal was not a victim of the Amazon fires. It shows him escaping fires in Woolsey, California, in November 2018 (B).
3. Another photo (A) shows an animal that appears to be a fox on a dirt road, fleeing a fire. It was taken in September 2011 by Silva Junior, a photographer for Folha de S. Paulo, during coverage (B) of fires in Ribeirao Preto, Sao Paulo.
– Scorching fire –
1. An image (A) showing a scorched forest with a tree still standing is the Amazon. But it was taken on August 4, 2017 (B) by Reuters photographer Bruno Kelly, during “Operation Green Wave”, a controlled burn by Brazil’s environmental protection agency Ibama.
2. Another image (A) shows a large area of forest on fire and huge plumes of smoke rising into the air. But it was taken in 1989. Actor Jaden Smith shared the photo on his official Instagram account Wednesday where it received more than one million likes (B). The image was taken by a photographer for Sipa Press, later acquired by Rex Features and published by The Guardian in 2007 (C) for a report on deforestation in the Amazon.
3. A photo taken at ground level (A) shows fire consuming trees in the Amazon, but it was taken on November 22, 2014, in the northeast province of Maranhao by Getty Images photographer Mario Tama (B).
4. The image (A) of a forest in flames does not correspond to the fires in the Amazon. It was taken by photographer John McColgan on August 6, 2000 (B) during fires north of Sula, Montana, in the United States.