Animals were not let out of zoo during France 2023 riots

The videos date back to 2020


Claim: A video shows animals roaming the streets of France after protestors freed them from a zoo as riots erupted in the country over the killing of an Algerian teenager Nahel M in June 2023.

Fact: The video is unrelated to the June and July 2023 protests in France but is actually a compilation of three different clips, two of which date back to 2020.

Fact or Fiction?

On 2 July 2023, Facebook user Tahir Inam claimed that protesters broke into a zoo in a city in France and opened the cages of all the animals, resulting in lions,  a zebra and an elephant roaming on the streets.

The caption of the post is as follows:

“فرانس کے کسی شہر میں مظاہرین نے چڑیا گھر میں گھس کر تمام جانوروں کے پنجرے کھول دیئے۔ اب وہاں کی سڑکوں پر شیر اور زیبرے گھوم رہے ہیں [In a French city, protesters broke into a zoo and opened the cages of all the animals. Now lions and zebras are roaming on the roads there].”

Several people on Twitter posted videos with the same claim, including user (@Awixy2).

The video is a compilation of three different clips. The first clip, which seems to have been shot from the dash cam of a car, shows a zebra, while a group of lions on the side of the road can be purportedly seen in the second clip. A third clip appears to show two hooded men shining a torch on an elephant.

Soch Fact Check found through reverse-image search that the first clip was shared by and Daily Mail in April 2020 when a zebra went on a run on the streets of Paris.

A report by Le Parisien published at the time states that the animals were spotted in Chennevières et Champigny-sur-Marne, a Parisian suburb, following their escape from a nearby circus after their enclosure was opened.

To confirm the veracity of the second clip featuring lions purportedly, Soch Fact Check searched YouTube with keywords and found a video published on 12 February 2020. This video and the viral clip are the same based on key indicators.

However, reverse-image search and keyword search for the third clip showing an elephant yielded no results.

Multiple publications, including AFP, reached out to Paris zoos who told them that the videos were not filmed during the recent riots and no animals escaped from the zoo during this time.

“These images, embellished with misleading information, were shot during incidents that occurred several years ago, in France or abroad, with animals not coming from zoos,” the Parc Zoologique de Paris told AFP.


The claim with an Urdu caption was posted here, here, here, here and here on Facebook.

Tahir Inam’s post received 509 likes, 54 comments and three shares.

The video can be found here, here, here, here, here, here and here on Twitter.

The tweet by @Awixy2 gained 68,700 views, 69 likes and 22 retweets.

Conclusion: The videos showing a zebra and lions date back to 2020 while the clip showing an elephant could not be found online. Paris zoo confirmed that no animals escaped recently and old videos are being linked to the June and July 2023 protests.

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