Amid pandemic, social media fills with false wildlife news

Perhaps looking for an upside to COVID-19, social media has been filling with incredible tales of wildlife recovery due to the pandemic. Swans have returned to Venice. Dolphins are swimming in its canals. Drunken elephants snooze in a Chinese tea garden. If it all sounds too good to be true, it is. The swans are regular visitors to the Venetian island of Burano, National Geographic reports. The dolphins were seen in Sardinia, hundreds of miles from Venice. The drunken elephants? That’s not true, either. “I think people really want to believe in the power of nature to recover,” says Susan Clayton, a professor of psychology and environmental studies at the College of Wooster, in Ohio. “People hope that, no matter what we’ve done, nature is powerful enough to rise above it.”

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Header Image: Social media has been offering up hopeful but false tales of wildlife recovery around the world, from Venice to China. ©Pedro Szekely