(TMU) — A social media influencer from China has issued a public apology after video of her eating bat soup in 2016 re-emerged following the coronavirus outbreak.
Wang Mengyun is a Chinese YouTube celebrity who has gained a massive following with her online travel show, where she can be seen devouring exotic foods including animals that are considered disgusting to the western palate.
In her 2016 video, the young Chinese woman can be seen picking a bat from a bowl of broth before tearing it apart with her hands and picking off pieces to eat.
The clip has been shared widely, especially after some scientists revealed that the coronavirus may have spread from the Wuhan Seafood Market that authorities dubbed “ground zero” for the virus.
In the video, she can be seen holding the soup and stating:
“The soup we just had was very delicious and had a fruity flavor.”
She then holds the bat close to the camera and asks:
“Doesn’t it look like a mini wolf-dog? … There are so many nutrients in it.”
However, the video’s recent spread appears to have been a classic case of fake news being shared thanks to social media hysteria.
While many claimed that the video was filmed in Wuhan—and went so far as to point to the video as proof of the “dirty” eating habits of the Chinese people—the video was actually filmed in the Pacific island nation of Palau where the bat dish is eaten locally.
— RT (@RT_com) January 26, 2020
And while regional scientists had suggested that the latest novel coronavirus outbreak began at the Wuhan Seafood Market—where various exotic creatures including snakes, rats, bats, koala meat, and wolf pups were sold—a new study has shown that while the virus seems to have originated with bats, the earliest reported victims didn’t have any contact with the market.
LADBible reports that in a post to Chinese social media platform Weibo that has since been deleted, the vlogger asked for forgiveness for the spread of the video. She also revealed that she had been receiving a flood of hate mail.
“Sorry everyone, I shouldn’t eat bats,” she wrote, before proceeding to detail the negative comments she has received.
Wang said the comments included:
“You should go to hell. You should be killed in the evening. You’re abnormal. You’re disgusting. Why haven’t you died.”
“It’s all because in 2016, when I was screening a tour program in Palau, a south Pacific island, I ate a soup of local people’s daily food.
Back in May 2016, I didn’t know what the virus was at that time. When the video was released, I only want to introduce the lifestyle of the local people.”
Continuing, Wang explained:
“Here are some special points I want to make:
1. The video was shot in 2016 and released during 2016-2017. Recently it was turned over by some accounts sponging off the heat and fanning out malicious panic.
2. When shooting the video, I really didn’t know there was a virus. I didn’t know until recently.
3. In the video, fruit bats are raised by local people, not wild ones. Many countries around the world eat this. It’s a daily dish in many countries, but it’s also a bat, can’t argue with that.”
As James Palmer argued in Foreign Policy magazine, the viral spread of the video in large measure reflects the often racist prejudices that have long been applied to Asians in general and Chinese people specifically. Palmer wrote:
“At a time of heightened fear over a viral pandemic, the Palau video has been deployed in the United States and Europe to renew an old narrative about the supposedly disgusting eating habits of foreigners, especially Asians. Images of Chinese people or other Asians eating insects, snakes, or mice frequently circulate on social media or in clickbait news stories. This time, that was mixed with another old racist idea: that the ‘dirty’ Chinese are carriers of disease.
Many Americans long believed that, as the New York Daily Tribune wrote in 1854, Chinese people were ‘uncivilized, unclean, filthy beyond all conception.’ Today, those same ideas have often been transferred to other groups such as South American refugees, yet they still persist in the way some Westerners think about China.
These prejudices can fuel fear and racism. As the Wuhan virus spreads, the Chinese as a group are more and more likely to be blamed for its incubation and spread. In countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, where there are already clashes around ethnic Chinese, those sentiments could turn nasty. In the West … it could fuel both government and public prejudices.”
Idgaf What You Are On. This Bat Soup Go So F***** Crazy. You White People Can Keep Hating. Enjoy Your Jellied Pork Or Whatever.
— Peter Xinping 只有前进！🦧🍌 (@PeterXinping) January 26, 2020
As Marine Life Flees the Equator, Global Mass Extinction is Imminent: Scientists
The waters surrounding the equator are one of the most biodiverse areas in the globe, with the tropical area rich in marine life including rare sea turtles, whale sharks, manta rays, and other creatures.
However, rampant rises in temperate have led to a mass exodus of marine species from the sensitive region – with grave implications for life on earth.
While ecologists have long seen the thriving biodiversity of equatorial species holding constant in the past few centuries, a new study by Australian researchers published in The Conversation has found that warming global temperatures are now hitting the equator hard, potentially leading to an unprecedented mass extinction event.
The researchers from the Universities of Auckland, Queensland, and the Sunshine Coast found that as waters surrounding the equator continue to heat up, the ecosystem is being disrupted and forcing species to flee toward the cooler water of the South and North Pole.
The massive changes in marine ecosystems that this entails will have a grave impact not only on ocean life – essentially becoming invasive species in their new homes – but also on the human livelihoods that depend on it.
“When the same thing happened 252 million years ago, 90 percent of all marine species died,” the researchers wrote.
To see where marine life is headed, the researchers tracked the distribution of about 49,000 different species to see what their trajectory was. The global distribution of ocean life typically resembles a bell curve, with far fewer species near the poles and more near the equator.
However, the vast alteration of the curve is already in motion as creatures flee to the poles, according to a study they published in the journal PNAS.
These changes augur major disruptions to global ecosystem as marine life scrambles in a chaotic fight for food, space, and resources – with a mass die-off and extinction of creatures likely resulting.
The research underscores the dire need for human societies to control rampant climate change before the biodiversity and ecological health of the planet is pushed past the point of no return.
Rare Creature Photographed Alive In The Wild For The First Time Ever
Advances in the methods used by researchers to watch wildlife have allowed for the photographing of a rare creature whose image had never been captured in the wild before.
Researchers in the West African nation of Togo were able to spot the rare Walter’s duiker, a rare species of petite African antelope, for the first time in the wild thanks to camera traps equipped with motion sensors.
In addition to the Walter’s duiker, the camera traps were also able to discover rare species of aardvarks and a mongoose, reports Gizmodo.
At a time when the extinction of entire species is becoming more common worldwide, such devices should help conservationists not only preserve creatures sought by bushmeat hunters but also spot rare animals whose presence is elusive for human observers. In the past, biologists were forced to rely on the same hunters for information.
“Camera traps are a game changer when it comes to biodiversity survey fieldwork,” said University of Oxford wildlife biologist Neil D’Cruze.
“I’ve spent weeks roughing it in tropical forests seemingly devoid of any large mammal species,” D’Cruze continued. “Yet when you fire up the laptop and stick in the memory card from camera traps that have been sitting there patiently during the entire trip—and see species that were there with you the entire time —it’s like being given a glimpse into a parallel world.”
The Walter’s duiker was discovered in 2010 when specimens of bushmeat were compared to other duiker specimens. The new images of the creature are the first to have been seen.
Rare species like Walter’s duiker are often not listed as “endangered” by groups like the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to a lack of data.
‘Horrific’ Swarms of Spiders, Snakes Invade Australian Homes Amid Devastating Floods
In recent years, Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) has faced everything from drought to brushfires, a pandemic, a recent all-consuming plague of mice and now, devastating floods and massive hordes of spiders.
In videos shared across social media, hundreds if not thousands of spiders can be seen scrambling through people’s homes and garages prior to an evacuation order being issued on early Saturday in expectation of the floods.
In one video posted to Facebook by Melanie Williams, the arachnids of all sizes can be seen scrambling about in search of shelter from the coming deluge.
“Check these spiders out, oh my god, oh my god! Look at them all,” Williams said in the video. “No! No! Oh my god.”
The Guardian reports that Kinchela resident Matt Lovenfosse was pulling up to his home on Monday morning when he witnessed what appeared to be a sea of “millions” of spiders climbing about to escape the floodwaters.
“So I went out to have a look and it was millions of spiders,” Lovenfosse said.
“It’s amazing. It’s crazy,” he continued. “The spiders all crawled up on to the house, on to fences and whatever they can get on to.”
The flooding has resulted in some 18,000 residents fleeing their homes since last week, with authorities warning that the cleanup could last until April.
The floods have also seen thousands of snakes and insects of every kind scrambling to flee from the floods, with some snakes even leaping into rescue boats to avoid being drowned.
“There were also skinks, ants, basically every insect, crickets – all just trying to get away from the flood waters,” vistor Shenae Varley told Guardian Australia.
It’s just the latest reminder that Australia isn’t just another country – it may be its own entirely different world.
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