No, this jaguar was not saved from fires in the Amazon

An image of a jaguar being carried through water by a member of the Brazilian military has been shared tens of thousands of times with the claim that the man is rescuing the animal from fires in the Amazon. This claim is false. In reality, the jaguar is the mascot of a Brazilian military unit and this photo is from 2016.

The photo was shared with various claims about the Amazon fires in English, Spanish and French. One of the English posts says: “Such a poignant picture which tells a thousand stories...A Jaguar, exhausted by trying to escape the raging fires in the Amazon is rescued by a human - the very species which is wrecking it’s environment and the world at an alarming rate.”

Screenshots taken on September 4, 2019 of three false Facebook posts

However, this photo does not show the rescue of an animal from the 2019 fires in the Amazon. 

The jaguar is named Jiquitaia and it was adopted by the Amazon Military Command in early 2015 when it was still a young animal. A year later, on March 8, 2016, photographer None Mangueira published photos of the animal playing with some officers on her Facebook account. The photographer confirmed to AFP that she was the one who captured the moment in the water.

This is not the first time that Mangueira's work has been shared out of context: in 2016, a jaguar used in a ceremony as the Olympic torch passed through Brazil's Amazon was killed when it escaped its handlers and threatened a vet. Images of Jiquitaia were used as if they showed the dead animal and Mangueira was forced to deny it on her Facebook account.

AFP has fact-checked other images that do not depict the current fires in the Amazon rainforest. 

#PrayforAmazonas: Thousands of people are sharing old pictures in posts about the Amazon rainforest fires

These images do not show wet weather in the Amazon rainforest after fires erupted in 2019

Most of these photos show animals burned by forest fires outside Brazil before the 2019 Amazon wildfires

This was translated from Spanish and French by Marisha Goldhamer.
Bruno Scelza