Fact check: Image of an elephant carrying a lion cub is altered

·3 min read

The claim: Elephant carried a baby lion in its trunk

A picture circulating on social media appears to show an elephant carrying a baby lion in its trunk, walking alongside a lioness.

A Facebook user shared a post on Sept. 24 with the caption: "A lioness and her cub were crossing the Savannah, but heat was excessive and the cub was in great difficulty walking. An Elephant realized that the cub would die and carried him in his trunk to a pool of water, walking beside his mother."

It went on to call this a "great lesson for mankind."

Several other Facebook users have also shared the same photo.

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But the image is altered. There was no lioness in the original picture, nor did the elephant carry a lion cub in its trunk.

USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the post for comment.

No lioness or cub in original image

The original image of the elephant was shared in 2005 by Felix Andrews on Wikimedia Commons. It is titled "Savanna elephant 'Loxodonta africana' in Kruger National Park, South Africa." There is no lioness or cub in the image.

The altered image was first shared by Kruger Sightings, a platform that shares videos and photographs of animals in Kruger National Park, on April 1, 2018, according to Reuters.

The altered image included a caption similar to what the Facebook user shared, along with the words "Sloof Lirpa," which is "April Fools" spelled backwards.

Nadav Ossendryver, CEO of Kruger Sightings, tweeted on April 2, 2018, that the picture was indeed altered for April Fool's Day.

The Latest Sightings website also has a page titled "How To Make Your April Fool's Joke Go Viral!" that explains how the image was digitally altered.

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The original image of the lioness is seen in a blog website called the Londolozi blog, according to Reuters. The lioness, who had two cubs, died in 2012, and the original picture of her was taken a month before her death.

Our rating: Altered

A viral image that shows an elephant carrying a lion cub in its trunk and walking next to a lioness is ALTERED, based on our research. The original image of the elephant was digitally altered as an April Fool's prank.

Our fact-check sources:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Altered image shows elephant carrying a lion cub

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