Rumors of zoo animals set free or stolen are false, Lincoln Park Zoo says

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CHICAGO — The Lincoln Park Zoo said in a statement Monday that all animals in the zoo are accounted for and safe, and rumors spreading on social media that the zoo was broken into and looted Sunday night are false.

“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 zoo said in a statement.

Images including exotic animals like a giraffe, hippo, elephant and lion walking down streets were being shared across social media late Sunday by people claiming to be they were taken in Chicago.

Chicago police received reports of break-ins and looting at the zoo were likely inspired by the posts on social media instead of any firsthand accounts.

The images appear to either be from unrelated news stories, posts by animal preserves or complete fabrications.

For instance, the image of a hippopotamus walking down the street was from a 2016 news report about a hippo escaping from a circus in Spain.

An image of a lion walking down a city street was actually from a 2016 story where a lion escaped from a zoo to roam the streets of Johannesburg, South Africa.

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