(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 Fuckin Crazy. You White People Can Keep Hating. Enjoy Your Jellied Pork Or Whatever.
— Peter Xinping 只有前进！🦧🍌 (@PeterXinping) January 26, 2020
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years
Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.
Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.
The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.
Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.
It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.
“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”
Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.
Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.
“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.
“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”
Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.
“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.
Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.
“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”
In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.
Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.
A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.