A trending story purports that a "real life Pikachu" has been captured by people in a Kenyan village, but Lead Stories can confirm this is a hoax. Our Trendolizer system detected the fake story as trending on social media (see chart below.)
The website that published the report is known for generating huge traffic with fake stories that people share on Facebook, apparently thinking they are true. Again, it is not.
The Pokemon Go craze, which has consumed countless hours of teens and adults since the mobile app was launch this summer, has triggered many hoax reports. The latest one is one of the more creative versions.
The story includes a photo of villagers surrounding a cage holding the purported Pikachu. However, a reverse Google image search led us to the original image of the same scene with a small leopard in the cage. The hoaxers did a fine job of photoshopping the Pokemon creature into the cage.
Pikachu had the body of a Chinchilla, ears of a rabbit, a tail with a shape of a lightning bolt, and it's fur was yellow, and had small red dots in the cheek area, nearly identical to the Pikachu we all see on TV.
"It had this weird electric power" says Montassar Hssine, one of the villagers who assisted in the capture of Pikachu, "We couldn't find a Pokeball anywhere so we had to catch it by hand and put it in a cage. It was sending out jolts of electricity. You can not see the electricity, we know because there were a few of us that touched it and got shocked. It wasn't a deadly shock, it was more of just a small jolt that made you pull your hand away from it. I felt like Ash Ketchum for a second" said Montassar.
If you see a version of this hoax on your Facebook timeline, please share this debunking in the comment section. The chart below shows the early trajectory of the trending story as measured by Lead Stories' Trendolizer.