FACT CHECK: Did South African Protesters Free Animals From the Hluhluwe Game Reserve?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

A video shared on Facebook allegedly shows wild dogs and an elephant running freely after being released by protesters from the Hluhluwe Game Reserve in South Africa.

Verdict: False

The video, which was taken in 2017, actually shows animals running freely in Kruger National Park. The video is unrelated to the ongoing protests in South Africa.

Fact Check:

The 20-second video shows a police vehicle on a road with several wild dogs, when suddenly an elephant emerges from the brush, chasing some of them away. “Free Zuma protesters free wild animals from the Hluhluwe Game Reserve in Kwazulu Natal by cutting the fence,” reads the video’s caption.

At least 72 people have been killed in South Africa from rioting and looting in recent days prompted by the jailing of former South African President Jacob Zuma, CNN reported. Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt after he failed to appear in front of a commission investigating accusations of corruption, according to The New York Times.

The Facebook video does not, however, show the actions of protesters. Had South African protesters released wild animals, media outlets certainly would have reported on it, yet none have.

Check Your Fact found the same footage posted on YouTube in July 2017, years before Zuma’s jailing, with the title: “Elephant Shows Wild Dogs & the Police Who’s Boss.” The video was posted by the verified YouTube channel Latest Sightings, which posts videos of “authentic wildlife videos coming from around Africa,” according to its “About” section.

The footage was shot by  61-year-old Beryl Venter in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, not Hluhluwe Game Reserve, according to the video’s description. (RELATED: Are White South Africans Banned From Receiving Government Aid During The COVID-19 Pandemic?)

“We were on our way home from Letaba after a five-week stay in Kruger – feeling very depressed and not expecting any ‘wow’ sightings,” Venter told Latest Sightings. “We were then suddenly very excited to see the wild dogs running around and playing in the road – twenty-one of them. We were the only vehicle at the sighting. We were taking photos as if it was the last ever sighting we would have of wild dogs running around us.”

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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