Sorry everyone, that story about the drunk elephants isn’t actually true

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Friday 20 March 2020 16:00
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(iStock)

Really nice story going round the internet this week.

Apparently, while humans socially distance from each other, elephants in the Yunnan province of China are having a field day.

Twitter user @Spilling_The_T tweeted on 18 March that a group of 14 elephants broke into a village there, looking for corn.

They ended up drinking 30kg of corn wine and got so drunk that they fell asleep in a nearby tea garden,” they wrote.

The tweet was accompanied by some grainy images, purportedly of the elephants in question asleep in the tea garden.

Amazing story – and other Twitter users thought so too, which is why the original tweet racked up almost 1 million likes and 247,000 shares.

It also spawned copycats who re-wrote the story and tweeted it out, presumably hoping for a piece of the sweet numbers pie themselves.

The story made it to Facebook as well, where it was posted by photography page Epicalyptic, who credited the story to Twitter user Li Jing.

One problem: the story’s fake.

As some of the more hardened cynics on the internet quickly pointed out, a cursory Google suggests the incident is fabricated.

Local officials in the province say that while 14 elephants did enter a village in Yunnan on 11 March, the reality certainly wasn’t as cute as the internet wants to believe.

Talking to Beijing News, they said the elephants actually destroyed homes and property of the people living in Manmai village.

As for “getting drunk”, a jar of alcohol was knocked over, but there was no evidence the elephants actually drank it.

Meanwhile, Guardian journalist Hannah Parkinson confirmed the pictures attached to the story were not related to the elephants in Yunnan – instead they’d been circulating on Chinese app WeChat for a while.

Amazingly, a lot of people appear to have fallen for the story.

Well, if you believe that drunk elephants curled up in a tea garden in China, I’ve got an amazing story to tell you about a massive lasagne

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