Alright, so two things: 1) those Pokemon Go players who claimed they got an Articuno (opens in new tab) were telling the truth (opens in new tab), at least about having the Pokemon and 2) they don't have them any more. Developer Niantic Labs told IGN (opens in new tab) that it plucked the legendary bird from a few Pokemon Go (opens in new tab) player accounts who were never supposed to have them in the first place.
"We recently noticed that a few Legendary Pokemon got into a few accounts when they shouldn’t have", Niantic's statement reads. "To preserve the game’s integrity and as a measure of fairness, we have rectified the situation and revoked the legendary Pokemon from the Trainers’ accounts".
That still doesn't confirm whether the Articunos were actually handed out by an over eager customer support agent - as one of the players claimed - or if they were acquired by exploiting the game. But it's all water under the surfing Lapras now. We'll just have to wait until Niantic decides to officially unlock the three legendary birds (and Ditto and Mewtwo in Pokemon Go (opens in new tab)) to start playing with them.
If you do somehow get your hands on one before then and want to keep it, you probably shouldn't talk about it on the internet.
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