Putin Let Loose Lions To Keep Russians Indoors? Bizarre Claim Goes Viral

BOOM found that the graphic was created with a prank generator app and that the image of a lion prowling the street is old and unrelated.

An image of a lion roaming the streets shared as a 'breaking news' screengrab has gone viral on social media.

A caption with the picture reads 'Breaking News: Russia unleashed more than 500 lions on its streets to ensure that people are staying indoors during this pandemic outbreak. Vladimir Putin released around 500 lions to make people stay indoors.' The image also bears a 'Live' logo and timestamp giving it the impression of a television screengrab.

BOOM found that the picture was taken in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2016 and the viral post was created using a mobile app.

Also Read Coronavirus LIVE Update: India Reports 7 Deaths, 360 Cases

The viral post is shared below and its archived version can be accessed here.

Coming at a time when Coronavirus outbreak has forced many countries across the world to call for a lock down, several people seem to have fallen for the false claim mistaking it for authentic news. The viral post has taken twitter with a storm.



Also read Image Of Brazilian President Breaking Down Falsely Linked To Coronavirus-Hit Italy


Fact Check

BOOM did a reverse image search on the viral photo excluding the breaking news template and found news articles from 2016 carrying the same image.

A New York Post article dated April 15, 2016 carries the same image and reports the incident is from Johannesburg, South Africa. According to the NY Post article, the lion Columbus was borrowed by a local film company from a nearby lion park, and had been released on the street as part of a shooting.


Another report published in Daily Mail, UK, on the same day also reported that the incident was from Johannesburg, SA.


Interestingly, Gulf News had wrongly attributed the same image to another incident from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in an article published on its website on September 23, 2019.


Now that BOOM had traced the original image to 2016, we were left with the task of finding an app to create the 'breaking news' template. Break Your Own News is one such app.

We used the original image published in Daily Mail to create a 'breaking news' template with the help of the app. Here's what we got.


The app's logo on the top right corner of the image can be removed with the help of photo editing apps.

Here's another 'breaking news' BOOM created with the help of the app.





Updated On: 2020-03-24T13:45:57+05:30
Claim Review :   Russia released lions and tigers to keep people indoors
Claimed By :  Facebook and Twitter pages
Fact Check :  False
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