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Gabrielle Settles
By Gabrielle Settles September 29, 2022

This video of an escaped seal is from Chile in 2020, not post-Hurricane Ian

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  • The video is from 2020 and shows an elephant seal that got stranded in a coastal neighborhood in Puerto Cisnes, Chile.

Floridians are assessing the damage from Hurricane Ian. An estimated 2.6 million customers were out of power, and  emergency responders are trying to assist people trapped in their homes by flooding. 

Amid this real chaos and destruction, though, are some unfortunately misleading claims, such as one that alerted folks that a walrus was on the loose.

"Walrus seen on Florida streets after Hurricane Ian hits land," said the text on a video one Instagram user posted on Sept. 28. The footage showed an animal lumbering down a neighborhood sidewalk. 

The video was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

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The video also gained traction on Twitter

But this video is from 2020. It’s a seal, not a walrus. And it happened in Puerto Cisnes, Chile — not Florida. 

In October 2020, an elephant seal got stranded on shore and began roaming the seaside town. It wasn’t related to a hurricane or weather event. The Guardian reported that neighbors, police and naval officers worked together to guide the unlikely visitor back to the water. 

We rate this claim Pants on Fire!

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More by Gabrielle Settles

This video of an escaped seal is from Chile in 2020, not post-Hurricane Ian

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