Fact Check: Did Vladimir Putin release lions to enforce corona lockdown in Russia? Here’s the truth
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, several countries across the globe are under lockdown to control the spread of the virus. Social media is flooded with appeals from medical professionals and other emergency workers to stay home and be safe. In the wake of all this, several posts claim Russian President Vladimir Putin has released lions on the streets in Russia to ensure coronavirus lockdown in the country. These claims, however, are false.
“Russian president Vladimir Putin released 800 lions and tigers across Russia to devour anyone who comes out. Stay home or die hard. GOAT,” says a post shared on Twitter. There are several such posts on Facebook as well.
Here’s another version of the post:
There is no truth to the posts though. A reverse image search on Google resulted in an article by Metro.co.uk from April 15, 2016. It mentions that the incident actually took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. According to the article, Columbus, the lion was on the street acting for a local production company.
Daily Mail had also published an article about the incident on the same date. It mentions that the lion wasn’t on the loose and resided in a lion park close by.
In case you’re wondering about the breaking news band in the second version of the post, here’s what’s happening. A website called BreakYourOwnNews.com allows anyone to create a similar graphic.
So the posts saying Russian President Vladimir Putin has released lions to ensure lockdown are fake.