Healthcare/Biosafety

Do Lions and Tigers Protect Russia against Coronavirus?

27 March, 2020

On March 22, 2020, Facebook page “ხელოვნური სუნთქვა” (Artificial Ventilation) posted a photo, depicting a lion prowling around the streets. The photo was accompanied by a caption: “About 800 lions and tigers were released in the streets of Russia to make people stay home amid coronavirus outbreak.” The post has about 2,400 likes and 8,500 shares. 

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The information spread by the Facebook page is not true. In fact, the photo was taken not in Russia, but in South Africa in 2016. 

  • The photo has been taken in South Africa

The photo used by Facebook page “ხელოვნური სუნთქვა” as evidence to prove that Russia released lions and tigers in the streets was actually taken during the filming. The photo does not depict either Russia or the fight against coronavirus in 2020. It was taken in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2016. Daily Mail even released an article on this occasion in 2016, according to which the lion had been borrowed from a nearby Lion & Safari Park. As for the information about releasing lions and tigers in the streets of Russia, no official sources have confirmed the report. 

Other news agencies and fact-checkers, among them INDIA TODAY, REPUBLIC.TV, Alpha Time News and Snopes have also verified the disinformation.

The photo with fake news has gone viral on the Internet

2On March 22, the photo with identical disinformation was also spread by other Facebook pages: “მსოფლიოს უცნაური ადამიანები და მოვლენები” “ყველაზე დაბალი ფასები. ფასდაკლებებიი”, “ნ10ას სამყარო

The disinformation was also published by some doubtful foreign media outlets: ghanamma.com, Thedistin.com , phxfeeds.com.

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Prepared by Lika Buchunteli
Myth Detector Lab