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Photos of lions not from Kenyan capital

Photos of lions casually walking past large shipping containers in what looks like a port have been making the rounds on Kenyan social media.

A Facebook page captioned the photos: “A stray lioness and two cubs have been spotted at a container deport in Nairobi.” 

There are no clues in the photos to where they were taken. Are these dangerous animals really on the loose in the Kenyan capital?

Photos from India

A reverse image search shows the photos first appeared online on 11 February 2020 on an Indian website.

According to the Indian news article, the lions were spotted at Pipavav, a port on the west coast of India, on 11 February.

The Times of India also covered the news the following day. “While lions are frequently spotted on the road towards the port, the wild cats are now seen strolling around the jetty and railway yard where big containers are stacked,” the newspaper wrote.

‘Ignore fake news’

Kenyan local authorities have denied reports that the photos were taken in the country.

Kenya Ports Authority said the claim was “fake” and urged the public to ignore the reports.

“Kindly ignore fake news and photos doing rounds in the digital media purporting lions have invaded the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi. This is not our facility,” the authority tweeted on 13 February.

The Kenya Wildlife Service, responsible for animal conservation in Kenya, also said that they were aware of the reports and that the pictures were taken in India.

“We have noted the online circulation of false reports and pictures of a lioness and cubs sighted at the Inland Container Depot … near Nairobi National Park. We have since established that the pictures and report were taken in India and not in #Kenya as reported,” they tweeted.

While almost all wild lions live in sub-Saharan Africa, there is a small population of Asiatic lions in Gir Forest, in the Indian state of Gujarat. 

Africa Check contacted the Gujarat forestry department, which is responsible for wildlife around Pipavav port, to confirm if lions had been seen at the port. We will update this report with their response.

Africa Check recently debunked a similar claim of a lion on the loose in Mombasa. Dancan Bwire


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