Did Russian President Vladimir Putin release 500 lions onto the streets of that country to keep people indoors amid the coronavirus outbreak? No, that's not true: The screen grab of a news report claiming that Putin released lions is four years old and is from a movie shoot.
"Russia released more than 500 lions on the streets to ensure that people are staying indoors during this pandemic outbreak.
Vladimir Putin released around 500 lions to make people stay indoors."
Social media users saw this:
Put simply, this story is not true.
Followers quickly caught on, calling out the veracity of the photo. One poster wrote: "It was posted on the fake news!!!! This is not true, but funny as shit if they did 😂"
A reverse image search showed that the fake story stole a still of a lion on the street from the filming of a movie in Johannesburg, South Africa, in April 2016. Still, the story was going viral on Facebook as users circulated the screenshot that looked like a news report showing the lion and claiming Russia's president had cut loose the big cats to keep people indoors to avoid infection amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Wealthy British businessman and reality TV star Lord Alan Sugar posted a tweet of the fake news screenshot, racking up 39,700 likes and 8,900 retweets.
The Daily Mail previously published the photos on April 15, 2016, from a movie location on the streets of the South African city, showing the lion in action. The story read, in part:
This is the moment a giant male lion was spotted strolling down the streets of South Africa's biggest city in the middle of the night. The big cat was seen prowling around a residential area in Johannesburg and at one point clambered up to rest its front legs on the back of a car.
But residents were later reassured that the lion, called Columbus, was not on the loose - and had been brought in by a production crew for filming.
Columbus had been borrowed from a nearby lion park and the area was fenced off while the animal, which has starred in a number of films and advertising campaigns, is tame.
AltNews.In noted that Pakistani actor Nasir Chinioti tweeted a message about Russia unleashing the lions, and the tweet gathered 28,700 likes and 14,800 retweets.
#Covid_19#StayAtHome-- Nasir Chinioti ناصر چنیوٹی (@_Chinioty) March 22, 2020
Vladimir Putin has given Russians two options.
You stay at home for 2 weeks or you go to jail for 5years.
No middle ground.
RUSSIA: Vladimir Putin has Dropped 800 tigers and Lions all over the Country to push people to stay Home.. Stay Safe Everyone!! pic.twitter.com/vI1NSpe5TR
Russia has sent aid to help relieve Italy's devastating coronavirus outbreak, as Italy has the highest number of deaths, according to worldometers.info. But Russia, with some 143 million people, has not reported nearly the number of cases of the virus as other countries with similar populations, according to Bloomberg news.
The Kremlin has reported on 367 cases of COVID-19 and no deaths for all of Russia. The Russian government has not announced a broad lockdown, although schools and some businesses have been closed in recent days.
LeadStories has extensively covered viral hoaxes during the coronavirus outbreak. Read some of the stories here:
- Fact Check: Helicopters Are NOT Spraying Disinfectants To Try To Eradicate Coronavirus
- Fact Check: Tanks NOT Arriving In San Diego, NO Martial Law
- Fact Check: Massachusetts State Police DO Warn Of Possible Scam Related To Coronavirus
- Fact Check: NOT A Photo Of Hundreds Of Coronavirus Dead In Italy
- Fact Check: Coronavirus Cases In U.S. NOT Linked To 5G Rollout
- Fact Check: Joe Biden Did NOT Test Positive For Coronavirus, As African Hoax Website Claims
- Fact Check: Homeland Security Is NOT Preparing To Mobilize The National Guard To Combat Coronavirus
- Fact Check: Italy Has NOT Mandated No Treatment Of All Elderly With Coronavirus
- Fact Check: A Banana A Day Does NOT Keep The Coronavirus Away
- Fact Check: 15 Minutes In Sauna Will NOT Kill The Coronavirus
- Fact Check: A Dog Vaccine Can NOT Be Used To Inoculate People Against Coronavirus
- Fact Check: The CDC Is NOT Warning People The Morel Mushroom Increases Coronavirus Risk By 200%
- Fact Check: Baby Formula NOT Necessarily Being Shipped For Free During Coronavirus Outbreak
- Fact Check: Train Was NOT Marked With "COVID-19" On Its Side
- Fact Check: NOT 10,000 Deaths In Virus Outbreak in Michigan, Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, Missouri, Mississippi
- Fact Check: CDC Did NOT Recommend Men Shave Their Beards To Protect Against Coronavirus
- Fact Check: Florida Man NOT Arrested For Robbery Using Cough As A Weapon
- Fact Check: Lysol Products Can Kill Older Strains Of Coronavirus, But Tests Have NOT Scientifically Proven They Kill Novel Coronavirus
- Fact Check: Hair Weaves And Lace Front Wigs Made In China NOT Likely To Contain Coronavirus
- Fact Check: Scientists Did NOT Discover That Cocaine Kills Coronavirus
- Fact Check: NO Evidence Coronavirus Is Bioweapon Leaked From Wuhan Lab
- Fake News: Six Coronavirus Cases NOT Confirmed In Wichita, Kansas (Or Several Other U.S. Cities)
- Fake News: 20 Million Chinese Did NOT Convert To Islam, And It Was NOT Proven That Coronavirus Epidemic Did Not Afflict Muslims
- Fake News: NO Evidence To Support Claim From Bioweapons Expert Who Says Coronavirus Is Biological Warfare Weapon
- Fake News: Popping Bubble Wrap Does NOT Expose People To Coronavirus
- Fake News: Data From Windy.com Does NOT Show Massive Release Of Sulfur Dioxide Gas Near Wuhan
- Fake News: Latest Research Published By Chinese Scientists Did NOT Say Coronavirus Will Render Most Male Patients Infertile
- Fake News: NO Proof That High-Rise Buildings Have Become Human Incinerators To Combat Coronavirus
- Fake News: Residential Building NOT In Wuhan, NOT Set Ablaze To Control Coronavirus Spread
- Fact Check: Black People Are NOT Immune To The Dangers Of Coronavirus