Just as the whole world, and countries are enforcing a lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, which has already claimed more than 13,000 people and infected over 3 lakh globally. Social media is full of measures taken by respective governments to fight the menace.
Amid this, a post is going viral claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin has released 800 tigers and lions across the country's streets to force people inside. Facebook page "Humour TV" posted a picture of a lion on an empty street with the caption, "Vladmir Putin has dropped 800 Tigers and lions all over the country to push people to stay home."
Till the filing of this story, the post was already shared more than 18,000 times. The post is viral on Twitter as well but India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) has found the claim to be false. This picture is from Johannesburg in South Africa from 2016.
With the help of Google reverse image search, we found a report by "Daily Mail" published on April 15, 2016. According to this report, the lion, called Columbus, was brought for filming by a production crew in Johannesburg.
However, another report by "New York Post" says the filming was not approved. This report quotes the Johannesburg Roads Agency as saying, "The filming had not been approved and the film company took a risk by springing the lion without getting the OK to close several roads."
The same picture is also viral on WhatsApp with a similar claim. There is a TV 'Breaking News' graphic plate imposed on the picture which says, "Russia unleashed more than 500 lions on its streets to ensure that people are staying indoors during this pandemic outbreak."
AFWA has found that the graphic plate does not belong to any news channel. It has been created by using a website where you can develop your own "breaking news".
Therefore, it is clear that the picture of the lion roaming on the streets has nothing to do with Russia or Putin. This picture is from Johannesburg in South Africa from 2016 during a film shoot.