Factcheck: No, A Fox Did Not Feed Koalas During The Bushfires

A video incorrectly claiming to show a fox feeding baby koalas during the bushfires has gone viral, but the clip could be from as early as 2006 -- and it definitely doesn't feature koalas.

As the bushfire disaster has raged on, a number of false stories and images about the animal kingdom have been spread on social media. There was the story about wombats herding other animals into their burrows, of a kangaroo hugging its 'rescuer', and a young girl wearing a smoke mask holding a koala while fires raged behind her.

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If you’ve been following the bushfire crisis on social media and elsewhere, you may have seen reports of benevolent wombats herding other animals to shelter into their fire-proof burrows.

The latest story doing the rounds on social media claims to show a fox feeding a group of koala joeys after the bushfires -- but that's wrong.

The video is not from Australia's bushfires in 2020, and it doesn't show koalas. It's from snowy Canada, in 2009, and it only shows foxes, the photographer behind the video has confirmed.

"A very funny journey for a simple video," the photographer, Luc Durocher, said of the clip's unlikely viral status.

So how did this fake news spread?

YouTube channel 'Lets Make It Viral LMIV' recently posted the video on January 25, titled 'A Fox allows itself to feed Koala Babies in Australia'.

"Mama Fox feeds milk to baby Koalas in viral video from Australia. This is motherhood," the video's description reads.

A British woman 10 daily has chosen not to name, who describes herself on Twitter as a journalist, tweeted the video making the claim it was captured during the bushfires, and featured a fox and koalas. 10 daily has contacted the woman for comment.

A still from the video in question. Image: YouTube/ Luc Durocher

Other links to the video were shared across social media repeating the claim.

"In Australian (sic)  fire fox feeds baby koala! In doing so, he challenged The whole of Humanity," a different Twitter user said on post with the video.

"This is cutest and best story I've ever read. Why I love foxes so much too," said a Twitter user with an image from the video.

"Humans have much to learn..." said another, linking to an article by India Today, which also reported the video as showing koalas.

The Indian news publication has since deleted that article from its website, saying it "was based on wrong information and has been removed".



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The British woman has also deleted her tweet, after a number of people pointed out that the video was fake.

"I appreciate all who commented on this tweet. However, We are not here to discuss the kind of animals but to speak about their kindness," she replied to someone who called out the fake video.

"Whatever those babies are, we should learn to love all creatures from."

So where does this video *actually* come from?

Versions of the video appeared on the internet at least six years ago, but it is even older than that -- dating back to 2009, claimed the photographer who originally captured the footage.

The earliest post of the video 10 daily found was by YouTuber Luc Durocher -- a wildlife photographer from Quebec, Canada -- to his channel on November 21, 2014, with title 'Red foxes - Feeding'.

"Behavioral scene. Feeding," the description says.

The video in its entirety shows the fox feeding a litter of pups, with no koalas in sight. The full version of the video shows the baby animals to clearly be foxes, not koalas.

10 daily has contacted Durocher for comment.

On Facebook on Monday, Durocher posted links to the video, as well as a link to an article about the clip by fact-checking website Snopes. Alongside the video, he wrote "Notre-Dame Island, Jean Drapeau Park, Montreal, QC, Canada. Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 07:02 am" -- a reference to when and where he said the video was created.

In the Snopes article, he confirmed the video was captured in April 2009 in Canada -- not January 2020 in Australia.

"A very funny journey for a simple video," Durocher said in another post.

So no, a fox did not feed koala joeys during the Australian bushfires.