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Soldier not rescuing jaguar from the water during recent Amazon fires

August 28, 2019

CLAIM: Photo shows a jaguar being rescued from a body of water during recent fires in the Amazon.

AP ASSESSMENT: False. The image was taken in 2016 by Brazilian photographer None Mangueira as part of a project to save jaguars in the Amazon. It had nothing to do with the recent fires in Brazil.

THE FACTS: The photograph, taken in May 2016, shows a Brazilian army soldier swimming with a jaguar in the middle of the Rio Negro in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state. It was taken as part of a project to protect the jaguar.

Mangueira told The Associated Press that the photo shows Jiquitaia, a jaguar rescued as a cub and adopted by the army after hunters killed his mother. Soldiers took Jiquitaia to swim every day. He was 2 years old in the picture.

“It has nothing to do with the fires,” Mangueira said. 

The project, Jaguars in the Amazon, was created by the Military Command of the Amazon, a branch of the Brazilian army. It seeks to promote the preservation of the species in that area. The Amazon provides the largest contiguous area of habitat for jaguars and is considered key to their survival. 

Mangueira said the photo has been wrongly identified before and used without her authorization. In June 2016, the photo of Jiquitaia was wrongly identified as being Juma, a 9-year-old jaguar shot dead by a soldier after participating in an Olympic torch event in Manaus.

She posted on her Facebook page about the misuse of the photo in 2016, “Here’s an alert for us photographers about the bad faith of third parties. Protect you projects, protect your images! Help me spread the truth!”

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536

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