Agreed, we all loved reading about how regenerative coronavirus was for nature with dolphins returning to Venice canals, but unfortunately, those reports are false.
Editors Note: An earlier version of this story mentions that "dolphins had returned to Venice canals". The claim was later declared not true. Therefore, we have updated the story.
The novel coronavirus has practically become a point of reference for billions of people across the world as it continues to flatten out everything in its way. Of all the countries with confirmed cases of infection, Italy is one of the worst-affected. The death toll figures are rising at an alarming pace at 4,032, reported as of March 21. The tiny nation hasn't received any reprieve whatsoever, leading to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordering a complete lockdown of the country.
From Milan and Venice in the North and Sicily and Naples towards the South to Rome in the middle, the nation's administration has put a break to any and all sorts of human activity out there in a bid to stem the spread. However, recently, there were many reports about nature and wildlife triumphing over the coronavirus-struck cities as it kept the tourists at bay. Turns out, the news that made us all feel happy about nature taking over the earth was false.
Damn, I got sucked in on that one! Shows how desperate we are for good news!— Jane Caro (@JaneCaro) March 21, 2020
According to National Geographic, there were countless photos of swans and dolphins returning to the Venice canals amid the lockdown. Agreed, we all loved reading about how regenerative Covid-19 was for nature in Italy, but unfortunately, they are untrue. The report noted that swans, in fact, regularly appear in the canals of Burano, an island in the greater Venice metropolitan area. The viral photos of the swans were actually taken there. Meanwhile, the videos of dolphins coming back to the Venice canals are fake considering they were filmed at a port in Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea. This is, in reality, hundreds of miles away from Venice.
This week, a bunch of news about animals returning to deserted, quarantined places went viral on Twitter. Dolphins and swans in Venice; elephants getting drunk in a Chinese village.— Natasha Daly (@natashaldaly) March 20, 2020
The stories, although happy, weren’t true! My story on the phenomenon: https://t.co/sB58a82wnd
Nat Geo reported that it all started with a single tweet that went viral on Twitter. Twitter user Kaveri Ganapathy Ahuja shared a series of photos about swans that “returned” to Venice canals. And of course, the tweet hit over a million likes and went viral. “Here's an unexpected side effect of the pandemic,” she wrote on Twitter. “The water flowing through the canals of Venice is clear for the first time in forever. The fish are visible, the swans returned.”
Here's an unexpected side effect of the pandemic - the water's flowing through the canals of Venice is clear for the first time in forever. The fish are visible, the swans returned. pic.twitter.com/2egMGhJs7f— Kaveri 🇮🇳 (@ikaveri) March 16, 2020
Ahuja hails from New Delhi, India and claimed that she decided to put together some photos she saw on social media in one tweet. However, she did not know that swans were common in Burano. “The tweet was just about sharing something that brought me joy in these gloomy times,” she was quoted as saying by Nat Geo. “I wish there was an edit option on Twitter just for moments like this,” Ahuja claimed she had no idea her tweet would go viral.
Well, there was *some* truth to them. The Venetian canals are full of fish atm bc there's little traffic. The swans are in the canals of Burano, not Venice, & as you say the dolphin was seen in Cagliari, Sardinia. The dolphin was pretty cool, I saw the original post. 😊— 💧Vivienne Bridget Clare😷 (@cherrypieit) March 21, 2020
But she does not intend to delete the tweet considering the water in Venice canals is indeed clear due to the reduction in boat traffic, and that’s what matters for her. “It’s a personal record for me, and I would not like to delete it,” she added.
To corroborate the story of water becoming clear in Venice, a spokesman from the Venice Mayor's office told CNN. "The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom. It's because there is less boat traffic that usually brings sediment to the top of the water's surface."