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Google: No, we did not kill a donkey in Botswana

The company responds after imagery shows the animal lying in the wake of a Street View car.

Ass down.
Ass down.
Screenshot by Casey Newton/CNET

Google faces regular challenges as it maps the globe, from privacy lawsuits in Germany to the technical difficulties of mapping underwater. To that list of woes we may now add another: People think it killed a donkey in Botswana.

Recently, it seems, the company began fielding complaints from members of the public and the news media about Street View imagery that appeared to show a donkey in the Kweneng region of Botswana lying prostrate in the wake of a Street View vehicle. CNET's Chris Matyszczyk wrote last night asking for proof the animal survived.

"Because of the way our 360-degree imagery is put together, it looked to some that our car had been involved in an unseemly hit and run, leaving the humble beast stranded in the road," the company said in a blog post.

In fact, Google said, the donkey moved aside as the car drove past. It likely was lying down as part of a "dust bath."

"I'm pleased to confirm the donkey is alive and well," Kei Kawai, group product manager for maps, said in the blog post (which was headlined 'Never Ass-ume.')

A subsequent photo appeared to show the beast happy and healthy:

Ass up.
Ass up. Google