Fact check: Video of leopards cuddling beside a man is from South Africa, not Pipaleshvar Mandir

A video of leopards cuddling beside a man in the blanket is going viral in the Telugu states with a narrative

By Satya Priya BN  Published on  9 Nov 2020 9:26 AM GMT
Fact check: Video of leopards cuddling beside a man is from South Africa, not Pipaleshvar Mandir

Hyderabad: " రాజస్తాన్. సిరోహిలోని. రోజూరాత్రిపూట. పిప్పలేశ్వర్. స్వామిదేవాలయం పూజారి దగ్గర చిరుతపులి కుటుంబంతోసహ. వచ్చిపడుకుంటుంది"

When translated it states the video is from Pipaleshvar Mahadev Mandir in Rajasthan and every night leopard, along with its family sleeps with the pujari and cuddles in his blanket. This video is being shared too many times in Telugu, during the past few days.

Archive links of Facebook and Twitter posts:

Fact Check:

The claim that this video is from Pipaleshwar temple is FALSE.

Upon extracting the keyframes from the video using the Invid tool, we performed a reverse image search using them. We found several results showing the video which actually went viral in July 2020 after the Indian Forest Officer, Parveen Kasvan shared it with the caption "So what does a #cheetah prefers. Hard concrete or warm cloth. This one from an enclosure. All looks loveable though. VC Dolph C Volker." He attributed the video to a person named Dolph Volker.

This video was published by others too.


When searched with keywords "Leopard sleeping with man", we got several results showing the same and also other similar videos. A youtube video titled 'Man Puts Full Trust In Cheetahs And Sleeps With Them' was found published by channel named Cater Clips in March 2018, where in the description it says "This man has formed a close bond with his feline friend after using him as a fluffy pillow. Youtube user Dolph C. Volker was allowed to spend the night with two cheetahs, named Faith and Eden, at the breeding centre in Bloemfontein South Africa. Dolph C. Volker, who has a zoology degree, has been volunteering at the Cheetah Experience breeding centre for nearly five years and has known Faith since she was eight-months-old. Faith is severely handicapped due to spinal meningitis but was introduced to therapy cheetah, Eden, and the pair have become inseparable."

We also find the link to the youtube channel of the person in the video, Dolph Volker.

There are several videos on this channel which show the person spending time with wild animals like Lions, cheetahs, etc. Upon search, we found the same viral video where he is seen cuddling the leopards. This video was published in January 2019, with the title Do Cheetahs Prefer Cold Hard Concrete Or Warm Blankets Pillow & A Friend? | Three BIG CAT Night.

The video description states " I love when I know the answer to a question before it's asked. Do cheetahs prefer cold concrete or warm blankets and company? These captive cheetahs were bred and born at cheetah breeding centers in South Africa; one at Cheetah Experience. All are quite tame as they are groomed for the breeding program so when they have cubs, they can be monitored closely. An accepting and approachable mother allows that. There is a plan to release one of these cheetahs into a protected wild in the near future. I was granted special permission to spend my nights with the three because I had watched them grow up and built up a relationship with them during past volunteering."

We found some similar videos published by him, where he spends the night with the cheetahs and sleeps with them.

These videos were published in 2015.

Therefore, the person seen in the video is Dolph Volker who hails from South Africa and he took this video from a Cheetah Breeding Centre named 'The Cheetah Experience'

This claim went viral in July 2020 and was fact-checked by several fact-checking organizations in July and August 2020.



Hence, the claim is FALSE.

Claim Review:Video of leopards cuddling beside a man is from Pipaleshvar Mandir
Claimed By:Social Media user
Claim Reviewed By:Newsmeter
Claim Source:Social Media
Claim Fact Check:False
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