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When social media turned a photographic marvel into a sob story

India TV News Desk New Delhi 15 Feb 2017, 17:54:32 PM IST
India TV News Desk

The world is a strange place. The world, as social media assumes it to be, even quirkier. 

A magnificent effort by a photographer who managed to capture the slaughter of an antelope by a group of cheetahs in Kenya has been given a weird and totally unnecessary spin. 

Here is how the story goes.

In September 2013, photographer Alison Buttigieg witnessed a cheetah kill in Kenya in September 2013. She photographed the slaughter that showed the cheetah mother teaching her cubs how to kill an impala. The impala, petrified, stands still as the cats play with for a few minutes before devouring it. 

The photographs have received a lot of appreciation and went viral, though for all the wrong reasons, all thanks to the wicked, immature ways of the social media.


The story being peddled on social media makes a mockery of the photographer’s effort and gives it an unnecessary twist. It alleges that the impala is not terrified but has instead chosen to sacrifice herself for the safety of her children. The antelope’s blank reactions, out of fear, that one draws from the photographs have been twisted to suggest that the impala is actually looking on to see that her kids have left to safety.

The story does not end here. The posts that are now going viral suggest that such was the trauma of watching a mother sacrifice her life for her kids (it adds that the impala could easily have escaped had it not been for her children) that it sent the photographer into depression.

Here is the fallout. Buttigieg, the photographer in question, was soon flooded with remarks offering her sympathy. However, things soon reached such a frenzy that she was forced to post an explanation, one slamming the social media for giving her photograph and her life the twist that was not. 

“A highlight of my photography career has turned into a nightmare. My Stranglehold photo went viral in a huge way with a completely ridiculous fake story accompanying it, and implications I fell into depression after I took it (seriously who comes up with this crap?!?),” she wrote on Facebook.

The incident comes across as yet another issue of fake news that has gathered so much of attention in the past few months.

No wonder schools in the US are soon to begin lessons on how not to fall prey to this rising menace. In this case, had it not been for the photographer who came out and spelt out the truth, the world would have in all likelihood assumed that she would never recover from the trauma. But folks forgot – that’s her profession!!