The Michigan DNR now has to shoot down another viral Internet rumor.
For the second time in the past couple months, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has had to clear up another viral rumor on social media.
Back in December it was a photo of a giant wolf claimed to have been shot in Clare, Michigan. But as it turned out, it was a Canadian wolf.
The newest claim involves a photo of what appears to be a mountain lion holding a turkey in its mouth supposedly taken near Muskegon. This photo was shared on Facebook on Jan. 6 by Lea Parrish Shampo with the following claim attached.
“My friend took a picture of this off Giles Road by Simonelli,” Shampo wrote in the Facebook post. “That’s a turkey in its mouth. The DNR said it was a mountain lion and that they have been spotting them by Hoffmaster State Park too! Keep your pets close! Scary!”
As is often the case with Internet rumors, this one caught fire faster than a rag soaked in gasoline. The post garnered 2,100 shares in no time and P.J. Hoffmaster state park started receiving calls in regards to the photo.
It led to DNR Public Information Officer Ed Golder looking into the incident and quickly discovering the hoax. The photo appears to actually have been taken in Texas, but it appears someone cropped and made it larger somewhere along the way.
“We continue to have no confirmed cougar sightings in the Lower Peninsula,” Golder told Mlive.com. “All our confirmed sightings have been in the U.P.”
It turns out Shampo’s friend was the one who came up with the hoax and Shampo later apologized in another post for misleading people.
“I apprehended my ex-friend tonight, the perpetrator of the HOAX about the mountain lion picture,” Shampo wrote. “She may be released after her confession reaches you. She will remain anonymous for her safety sake!! I’m sorry for causing any alarm!!”
This story just proves you should always take things on social media with a grain of salt. It also pays to utilize Google’s reverse image search in situations like this. It can quickly help identify if someone is pulling your leg.
Images via Mlive.com.