Fact Check: Image from Thailand Is Viral as Animal Atrocity in India

An image of a severely injured elephant is widely shared on social media, claiming that it shows an Assamese elephant named ‘Jaymala’, who was brutally tortured in Tamil Nadu. It further claims that even after knowing this, the Assam government has not taken any action.

The image is shared on Facebook with a caption in the Assamese language: “আজি গনেশ পূজা ৷ এই পোষ্টটো যিমান পাৰে চেয়াৰ কৰক #তামিলনাডুৰ_মন্দিৰত_বন্দী_অসমৰ _হাতীক_নৃশংস_ নিৰ্যাতন জয়মালা। এই হাতীটো মাথোঁ ছয়মাহৰ বাবে ২০০৮ চনত অসমৰ পৰা তামিলনাডুলৈ লিজত নিয়া হৈছিল। কিন্তু যোৱা ১৩ বছৰে অবৈধ ভাবে বন্দী কৰি ৰখা হাতীটোক এটা মন্দিৰ চৌহদত চাৰিওখন ঠেং শিকলিৰে বান্ধি কেইবাজনো মাউতে নৃশংসভাবে মাৰপিত কৰি থকাৰ ভিডিঅ’ পেটা নামৰ স্বেচ্ছাসেৱী সংগঠনটোৱে ৰাজহুৱা কৰাৰ লগতে চৰকাৰৰ হস্তক্ষেপ দাবী কৰিছে। কিন্তু সকলো জানিও নিৰ্লিপ্ত হৈ আছে অসমৰ বন বিভাগ।” (English translation: Today is Ganesh Puja. Share this post as much as you can #Assamese_elephant_captive_in_Tamil_Nadu_temple Jaymala. The elephant was leased from Assam to Tamil Nadu in 2008 for just six months. The elephant illegally captured for the past 13 years was brutally beaten by several mouths on temple premises. But the Assam Forest Department is indifferent despite knowing everything.)

Here’s the link to the above post


NewsMobile fact-checked the above claim, and found it to be MISLEADING. 

Doing a simple Reverse Image Search directed us to an article by National Geographic, which carried the same viral image on June 20, 2019. The image description reads: “Gluay Hom, a four-year-old elephant trained to perform tricks for tourists, is chained to a pole in a stadium at Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo near Bangkok, Thailand. The elephant was limping with a swollen right foreleg.” This clearly means that the image is from Thailand. 

The same image had been published by Euro News, dated February 2, 2021, with a headline: “Selfies in the jungle: Abuse, exploitation and the dark side of wildlife tourism.” Describing the image, the article reads: “One of the exhibited images shows Gluay Hom, a five-year-old elephant, was found beneath a stadium at an entertainment facility near Bangkok. His leg was broken and there were open sores on his face. Six months after this image was taken, the team’s fixer found Gluay Hom at the same spot in the same condition. In Thailand, animal welfare laws either don’t exist or aren’t strictly enforced, so there is no punishment for keeping a sick elephant in a backyard even if people find it upsetting.”

Thus, it is now clear that an old image from Thailand is shared as an elephant brutally tortured in India. 

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