Google released a statement today denying its mapping team ran over and killed a donkey in Botswana.

Social media sites were abuzz over the past 2 days with claims that a Google Street View vehicle ran over -- and possibly even killed -- a donkey in Botswana’s Kweneng region.

A Reddit poster on Tuesday pointed users to a Street View image. “Go past the donkey and then look back,” instructed Reddit user ‘nelop’.

The sequence upon clicking the link to Google Maps indeed begins with the donkey in the distance, appearing to come towards the camera on the side of the road.

When the camera moves past the donkey, if the street map user rotates the angle to look back at the donkey, you can clearly see it lying on the ground on its side.

But Google this morning released a statement on its blog, denying this account.

“I’m pleased to confirm the donkey is alive and well,” said Google Maps Group Project Manager Kei Kawai in the cheekily-titled blog post, “Never ass-ume”.

Kawai says the opposite of what people are claiming occurred: the donkey was lying in the path as the Street View vehicle approached it. Kawai says the donkey may, in fact, have been “enjoying a dust bath” -- and that it moved safely aside as their car moved past it.

The problem, he suggests, is that people were viewing the images in the wrong order.

Those with doubts may be assuaged with this image taken of the donkey, taken off the side of the car, which shows it's alive and well.

Google Donkey

Kawai ends the blog by linking to some of the “spectacular images” people can enjoy of Botswana and its wildlife captured by its 360-degree camera.