Old videos of wild animals roaming freely on streets unrelated to protests in France

By: Ankita Kulkarni
July 5 2023

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Old videos of wild animals roaming freely on streets unrelated to protests in France


The Verdict False

The videos have been online before the civil unrest erupted in France.

Claim ID e1c64eda


Several videos have been shared online to claim wild animals are freely roaming the streets in France, where protests broke out last week over the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk. Social media users claimed that the animals were let loose in the streets of Paris by the protesters. Logically Facts found at least five videos of animals that were shared on Twitter, and many of them have crossed 100,000 views.

In Fact

We broke down the videos into keyframes and ran them through Google reverse image search for more details. We found that the videos predate the recent riots, and one of them are not even from France. 

A 10-second clip of a small pride of lions walking past several cars is from 2020. The video was posted on Facebook by Complex— an American media and entertainment outlet— on October 22, 2020. The video has been credited to '@andrewparsons5', and its caption read, "someone is playing Jumanji." Another reverse image search led us to a YouTube uploaded by the account 'Paral 12' the same day. The description said, "A pretty nerve racking experience sat in a car as the lion pride made their way through us." It also added that the video is from Knowsley Safari Park, which is in Prescot, England.

The second video shows a goat roaming on the street. The video was first uploaded on TikTok by 'atmanatb_off' on January 8, 2023, and its location is mentioned as Alès, a place in southern France. This video also predates the onset of civil riots in France and is, therefore, unrelated. 

The third clip has three lions strolling freely on the road. We traced it back to a video uploaded on YouTube by the channel 'Pascal Le petit frère' on February 12, 2020. The video description read, "LIONS IN ST DENIS IN FREEDOM" (translated from French). This suggests that the video was captured in Saint-Denis in Paris at least three years before the recent unrest.

The fourth video shows a zebra running on the road in the middle of moving traffic. We found that a YouTube channel named 'Le Parisien' had uploaded the video on April 13, 2020. The video description noted, "In Val-de-Marne, in Champigny-sur-Marne and Chennevières, a zebra and two ponies were seen on April 10 frolicking next to cars. This time, nothing to do with confinement: the animals escaped from a nearby circus (translated from French)."

The fifth video shows blurry footage of a gorilla sitting atop a building. Post sharing this clip claimed that the animal was released from the zoo amid the protests in France. We found the same visuals shared in a TikTok video that was posted on February 28, 2023. Our research revealed that the video is not of a real animal but shows the statue of a red gorilla erected on the roof of a building in Valence, a city in southeast France.

All the evidence mentioned above makes it clear that all five videos were taken at least weeks and, in many cases, years before the recent civil unrest erupted in France.

The Verdict

Videos claiming to show wild animals roaming on the streets of France have been online much before protests erupted in France. Therefore, we mark the claim false. 

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before