A video clip that appears to show a pride of lions walking through a flooded field has been viewed thousands of times in social media posts that falsely claim it was filmed at a wildlife sanctuary in western India, which was recently inundated by monsoon rains. However, the video has previously circulated online in posts about lions roaming through a game reserve in South Africa. A representative for the MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa told AFP the video was shot there and not in India.
The video has been viewed over 5,000 times since it was posted on Facebook on July 8, 2022.
Its caption states in part: "Lions Crossing Roads Submerged by Rainwater, a wonderful walk of a big group of Asiatic lions in Junagadh Gir Enjoy.
"I'm sure you are viewing such wonderful Moments for the First Time."
The majestic big cats, slightly smaller than their African cousins and with a fold of skin along their bellies, were once found widely across southwest Asia.
The post circulated as heavy monsoon rains lashed areas of Gujarat and caused floods, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported.
Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post, taken on July 14, 2022
But the video was previously shared in online posts that state it was filmed in South Africa -- not India.
A reverse search on Google using keyframes found the same video was uploaded on YouTube on May 23, 2021.
The natural sound in this video, however, has been replaced with music.
Its caption states: "This clip was filmed at the #Mala_Mala_Game_Reserve in #SouthAfrica. The reserve shared the footage on Instagram in February. This video shows the pride of lions roaming in a wet area after heavy rainfall."
Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the false post (left) and the video shared on YouTube (right):
A Google keyword search found the same video posted on the Instagram account of the MalaMala Game Reserve on February 13, 2021.
According to the post, the video was recorded by one of their guests and uploaded separately on Instagram here.
Responding to the posts, MalaMala Game Reserve spokesperson Heather Smith told AFP: "We can confirm that this was indeed shot at MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa and not in India.
"This has circulated before with the same incorrect information and it seems that it has resurfaced again."