Fake News: San Diego Zoo Rhino Did NOT Have 96-hour-long Erection After Teenagers Feed It Viagra

Hoax Alert

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: San Diego Zoo Rhino Did NOT Have 96-hour-long Erection After Teenagers Feed It Viagra

Did a rhino named "Arjuna" have an erection lasting 96 hours at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park because some teenagers fed him Viagra? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a website that likes to invent tales of bizarre crimes and weird sex acts (sometimes even combining both) but purely for entertainment purposes. None of it is real.

The rhino story originated from an article published by World News Daily Report on September 6, 2018 titled "San Diego Zoo: Rhino has 96-hour-long erection after teenagers feed it Viagra" (archived here) which opened:

San Diego, CA | A southern white rhino has been in full-blown erection for over 96 hours at the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park officials report

Arjuna, a thirteen-year-old male rhinoceros, caught zoo employees' attention after sustaining an erection for more than several days.

The animals bright, huge and red genitals have become a popular sight and a visitor favorite since the word spread on social media.

"The number of visitors to the zoo has exploded in the past few days. They just can't get enough of it!" a San Diego Zoo employee commented.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail and some of them might have mistaken it for a real news article:

San Diego Zoo: Rhino has 96-hour-long erection after teenagers feed it Viagra

San Diego, CA | A southern white rhino has been in full-blown erection for over 96 hours at the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park officials report. Arjuna, a thirteen-year-old male rhinoceros, caught zoo employees' attention after sustaining an erection for more than several days. The animals bright, h

But the rhino picture used with the story was taken in 2008 in Basel, Switzerland:

Zolli ZOO Basel indischer Panzernashornbulle

Unübersehbar der indische Panzernashornbulle 2008 08 04 TZ3 010

The website World News Daily Report is a well known satire website specialized in posting hoaxes and made up stories. The disclaimer on their website is pretty clear about that even though you have to scroll all the way down the page to find it:

World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website - even those based on real people - are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle.

It is run by Janick Murray-Hall and Olivier Legault, who also run the satirical Journal de Mourréal, a satirical site spoofing the (real) Journal de Montéal. Very often their stories feature an image showing a random crazy mugshot found in a mugshot gallery on the internet or on a stock photo website superimposed over a background of flashing police lights or crime scene tape.

Articles from the site are frequently copied (sometimes even months or years later) by varous fake news websites that omit the satire disclaimer and present the information as real.

We wrote about worldnewsdailyreport.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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