December 4th, 2019:
Thick, black graffiti sprayed onto a Russian polar bear’s coat poses an extra threat to an animal already in danger, experts say.
It was blamed on “pranksters” with fears the bear would not survive and some reports linked the incident to climate change.
December 7th, 2019
The bear had actually been tagged by scientists.
The bear was sedated and examined, said senior researcher Ilya Mordvintsev. The check showed that the male predator was well-fed which meant that he would likely not attack.
This misreporting episode was sourced to a video shared on social media by an employee of WWF, an activist group. The origins of the video were unknown.
A similar case of false reporting took place back in 2017, when activists conveyed the untrue story they wanted to believe in versus the actual story.
Social media should never be considered a reliable source and when connected to activists, you should assume – until demonstrated otherwise – that a PR stunt is underway.