Facts Matter: Animals didn't leave Lincoln Park Zoo during protests

  • Two adult and one juvenile hippo rest in their pond April 19 inside Bioparque Estrella in Chapa de Mota, Mexico. Recent social media posts have falsely claimed that animals escaped from zoos, including a hippo from Lincoln Park, during recent protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

    Two adult and one juvenile hippo rest in their pond April 19 inside Bioparque Estrella in Chapa de Mota, Mexico. Recent social media posts have falsely claimed that animals escaped from zoos, including a hippo from Lincoln Park, during recent protests against police brutality and racial injustice. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 6/6/2020 5:22 PM

News of protests in major cities following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota filled social media last week.

But reports of wild animals escaping from city zoos and giraffes roaming the streets are just tall tales, according to PolitiFact.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The false story said animals had been released from Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. One Facebook post showed a hippopotamus in the middle of the road with the caption, "There is a hippo walking the streets of Chicago," <URL destination=" https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/zoo-animals-escape-floyd-protests/">according to Snopes.com.

</URL>"All animals at Lincoln Park Zoo are accounted for and safe," zoo officials said on Monday. "There were no break-ins, thefts, or incidents last night. Images circulating, claiming to be of Lincoln Park Zoo animals out of their habitats, are false."

The image of the hippo is from 2016 when the animal escaped from a circus in Spain, PolitiFact said.

Other false posts claiming animals were on the loose included miscaptioned photos of a wallaby on a bridge, a giraffe walking the streets of Louisville, Kentucky, and a man holding a monkey with the words, "He then stole Curious George."

Trump held up Bible; Hitler did not

A route through peaceful protesters gathered in Lafayette Square was cleared on June 1 as President Donald Trump walked to St. John's Church in Washington, D.C., the site of a small basement fire the night before, according to Snopes.com.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The president posed for photos outside the historic Episcopal church while holding a Bible.

As images of Trump with the Bible circulated on social media, they were sometimes paired up with a photo of German dictator Adolf Hitler standing in a crowd and also holding a Bible.

But the Hitler photo is fake, Snopes said. It was taken from an actual photo of the Nazi leader in 1935, among a crowd outside his home, giving the Heil Hitler salute.

The photo was doctored to place an image of a Bible in Hitler's hand, to make it appear he is holding the book in the same manner as Trump.

Biden didn't bail out protesters

A false post on Facebook claims former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign gave $20 million to bail out protesters arrested during recent demonstrations following the death of George Floyd, according to PolitiFact.com.

"Joe Biden campaign has donated 20 million dollars to bail out rioters what the (expletive) does that tell you about the democrats," the post read.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Biden's campaign didn't put $20 million toward the bail of protesters, PolitiFact said. Some campaign staff members, not the campaign, donated to a nonprofit group that pays the bail for low-income inmates.

"Several of our staff members exercised their First Amendment right to donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, on an individual basis," a Biden spokesman told PolitiFact.

The $20 million figure could have come from a May 30 Forbes story headlined, "Minnesota Freedom Fund raises $20 million in four days amid George Floyd protests," PolitiFact said.

But the money wasn't from a single donor.

"We have had over $30 million in donations since the police murder of George Floyd, from over 900,000 donors, with an average donation of about $30," a Minnesota Freedom Fund spokesman told PolitiFact on June 3. "No one donor nor one small group of donors donated $20 million."

Thomas train pics from different protest

Photos of people driving a Thomas the Tank Engine train in the streets recently appeared on social media, along with the false claim it was taken from a mall during demonstrations in Minneapolis, according to The Associated Press.

The train photos had actually been taken during a 2014 protest in Ferguson, Missouri.

"Looters have stolen the children's train out of the #Minneapolis," wrote a Facebook user. That post was shared nearly 1,000 times, the AP said. And a tweet claiming, "They stole the mall train," was retweeted more than 8,000 times.

The photos were from 2014 protests that erupted after Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown, the AP said.

There were also false reports the Mall of America in Minneapolis was attacked, the AP said.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.