FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Lions Loose At The Port Of Baltimore?
An image shared on Facebook over 11,000 times allegedly shows lions roaming the Port of Baltimore in Maryland.
The photo does not show the Port of Baltimore, and lions have never been loose at the port, according to the Maryland Port Administration. The picture has been circulating online for at least several months.
The Facebook post featuring an image of lions walking near shipping containers at night has been shared over 11,000 times since Tuesday. In the caption, it claims the pictured lions escaped at the Baltimore port from a shipping container that originated from Lagos, Nigeria.
There is, however, no evidence lions were recently roaming the Port of Baltimore. Had lions been seen loose in the port, it would have been picked up by local news stations, yet none have reported on such an incident occurring. The City of Baltimore and the Maryland Port Administration have not mentioned stray lions at the port in any press releases, nor have they issued any warnings about such a thing on social media.
While Check Your Fact was unable to locate the original source of the photo of the lions, a reverse image search shows it has been circulating online for at least several months. In May, the Greek website Gazzetta published the picture in a story debunking the claim it was taken in the Port of Piraeus. The Tribuna de Parana, a Brazilian news outlet, also featured the image in a May article about it not showing the Port of Paranaguá.
When asked about the picture of the lions, Maryland Port Administration spokesperson Richard Scher confirmed via email, “That is not at the Port of Baltimore.” (RELATED: Did Russia Let Over 500 Lions Loose To Keep Indoors During The Coronavirus Pandemic?)
“There have never been lions running around the Port of Baltimore,” Scher went on to say. “Our understanding is that the photo was circulating two years ago and has been rehashed and repackaged.”
There have been documented instances of lions wandering around ports. For example, a group of lions was seen in a railway yard in India’s Port Pipavav in 2020, according to Times of India.