A Google Street View image of what appears to be a seriously injured or even dead donkey in Botswana has prompted questions about whether the search giant harmed the animal.
Images from Google Street View initially show the donkey standing upright on the right side of the road. However, scrolling up further along the dirt road on Street View and looking back reveals that the creature is lying on its side.
Subsequently, speculation has emerged that the donkey was hit by a car that Google employs to capture images used on the Street View offering.
But the search giant has denied that it has done anything wrong.
“Our Street View teams take the safety of people and donkeys very seriously,” a Google spokesperson told Australian news website news.com.au.
“A review of our imagery confirms that we did not cause any harm to the donkey,” said the official.
Google reportedly told news.com.au that the donkey was lying down when it was approached by the Street View car. The search giant adds that the animal then stood up and walked off uninjured.
However, a news.com.au report says that the version of events seems inconsistent with photos of the scene.
A cloud of dirt can be seen near the donkey, leading some Twitter users to suggest it was caused when the animal hit the ground, says the news website.
Botswana became the second country in Africa after South Africa to get the Google Street View service last year.
Credit: ITWeb Africa