Since its launch, Pokemon GO has had several claims of people finding legendary Pokemon. Even I was Rick Rolled by this claim of a legendary hatched from an egg. Now it appears that one Pokemon GO player has finally got the first legendary Pokemon: the ice-bird Articuno, however the validity of this is largely in question.
Starting with multiple Reddit users claiming they've seen Articuno atop several gyms, it seemed as though Kaitlyn Covey was the first in possession of the legendary Pokemon. Covey also posted a video to the Pokemon Go Facebook page to prove the legitimacy of the claim.
Covey claims that the Articuno was gifted to her by Niantic, with some sources saying Covey claimed this was through an apology email from Niantic. When asked to display the email, Covey refused saying it was in her personal email and she wouldn't share that with the public. She went on to say, " couldn't I hack or spoof text in an email.too then? much much easier than spoofing full videos at different gyms and battling with it and still pic screen shots of it!"
Several people have come out to try and debunk these claims. Reddit user HunterBeckham posted pictures of the gym's leaders and Pokemon after the Articuno post with neither Covey or the Articuno within it.
Other Redditors have suggested software, GitHub that can hack the games code, replacing Pokemon caught with other Pokemon, which as dataminers have confirmed, does include the legendaries. YouTube user, Kieran M has even posted a video where a glitch seemingly does the same thing:
Interesting, through all the controversy Covey did a live-stream to show her Articuno as well as show off the apology email. She explains that the Articuno was given to her after she "somehow" lost a high CP Pidgeot. Niantic decided to rectify this by supposedly giving her Articuno instead.
It's interesting to note that within the email, Niantic misspells Articuno, instead spelling Articundo. This very well could be the smoking gun, or an incredibly elaborate hoax. Only time will tell.
As of right now, with the amount of conflicting information, CGM will not confirm nor deny the existence of Articuno until all the facts have been revealed.
Update #1 (August 3rd, 2016) - In a statement released by IGN, Niantic has confirmed the Articunos were hacked into the game, and have since removed them from the players' accounts.