Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Animals 'Roaming The Streetz' After Protesters In France Release Them

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Animals 'Roaming The Streetz' After Protesters In France Release Them Not Set Free

Did protesters in France release animals from the zoo after police shot a teen, causing the animals to roam the streets? No, that's not true: Social media posts making this claim are showing old video clips of various animals running loose in different communities at different times. Additionally, the Paris Zoological Park has confirmed that all of its animals are "well and are safe!"

The claim appeared in a post and video on Instagram published on July 4, 2023. The caption said:

Protestors in France have released the animals out the zoo. Now elephants, lions, wolf, rhino's etc are roaming the streetz after teen was 🔫by cop

This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of the writing of this fact check:

Animals in streets.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Jul 6 15:12:30 2023 UTC)

This post on Instagram has multiple elements, including two video montages. None of them appear connected to widespread protests that erupted in France in late June 2023 and early July 2023 over the death of a teenager of Algerian descent who was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop.

A second image of the lions, with the title "Lions on the streets of Paris," also appeared in the post. It's a screenshot from one of the videos:

Lions in Paris from video.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Jul 6 17:06:46 2023 UTC)

The zoo

On July 3, 2023, the Paris Zoological Park reassured people on Twitter that everything was OK, in response to a question about whether the zoo's inhabitants had been released. The tweet, translated by Google, said:

Hello, don't worry animals @zoodeparis are well and are all safe! Good day to you🦒

The translated tweet and the zoo's response appear below:

Paris zoo tweet.png

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Thu Jul 6 16:34:17 2023 UTC)

The lions

The opening images of the lions from the post predate the protests by more than two years. They may be even older. Lead Stories found a version of the video on an Iranian social media platform. It was posted in April 2021:

Zebra and horses

The montage then shifts to a zebra and horses running along city streets. The fast-moving equines were tough to isolate from the clip but a couple of blurry still images are included side by side below:

Zebra and horse.png

(Source: Instagram screenshots taken on Thu Jul 6 17:47 2023 UTC)

As with the lions, the video this segment comes from is several years old and involves an incident when animals escaped from a circus near Paris in April 2020:


Another wild critter shown in the post is a massive rhino walking down a city street at night. The caption at the top says "Parc Zoologique France," which means "Zoological Park France" in English:


(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Jul 6 18:42:37 2023 UTC)

This rhino is nowhere near Paris or even France. Lead Stories found the clip in a video posted to YouTube in January 2020. The title says, "Rhino Takes Stroll Through Nepal Town":


At least one goat is purportedly part of the menagerie invading the streets of France, according to the video on Instagram:


(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Jul 6 18:09:47 2023 UTC)

Lead Stories found a version of the goat video on TikTok. It was posted in January 2023, months ahead of the protests:

@atmanatb_off Une chevre dans la rue 😂#tiktok #pourtoi #animaux ♬ son original - ATMAN


The video shows three gorillas walking upright around a corner as if they were escaping or in a hurry to get somewhere. One of them appears below. Again, the screenshot from the video is a bit blurry:


(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Jul 6 18:09:47 2023 UTC)

Lead Stories found this video on YouTube showing a reverse image of the same scene. It was posted to the social media site in December 2022:


The post on Instagram also claims to have found "a group of ostriches on the streets of Paris." The video provides a faded image of dozens of the flightless birds on a romp through the middle of a town:


(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Jul 6 18:09:47 2023 UTC)

The ostriches in the video are not in Paris, however, but are in the southern Chinese city of Chongzuo. An ABC News video from January 2022 says 80 of the birds ran amok after escaping from a farm:

Camel and bovine

Lead Stories was not able to find any source video for this odd couple found in the Instagram post. However, the caption at the bottom of the screen reads, "les animaux d'un cirque," which in English means "circus animals." It's possible they're part of the escapees from the circus near Paris in April 2020, but we can't be sure. However, this does seem to indicate they're not from the zoo:

combo camel and cow.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Jul 6 21:48:59 2023 UTC)

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims related to protests in France can be found here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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