Claim: A Twitter user says a video in which some children are seen mistreating a sleeping elephant took place in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Verdict: Misleading. DUBAWA’s search has shown that the incident happened in DR Congo, not Port Harcourt, as claimed. Also, when questioned about the claim’s authenticity, the Twitter user asked the people to stop being serious and focus on the “funny part.”
In the May 11, 2023 post, the claimant said the elephant entered a village in “Port Harcourt Creeks.”
“When the villagers ran away, he went and drank all 200 litres of local brew (Ogogoro) meant for sale, which belonged to a man named Tony.
We now have a bad market and a drunken sleeping elephant,” Chuxton wrote.
Data available on the social media platform showed the post had been retweeted 306 times, quoted 71 times, liked 498 times, and viewed 115,978 times.
Hours later, a Facebook user shared a screenshot of the post from Chuxton with a call to Nigerians to invest in wildlife.
“We know this did happen in Port Harcourt. But don’t you think we need to invest in our wildlife?” the post reads.
Considering the huge engagement of the post on Twitter and Facebook, DUBAWA decided to investigate the claim.
In probing the claim, DUBAWA first reviewed news reports on the subject matter and conducted a keyword search.
Although these YouTubers confirmed the story’s substance that the elephant drank 200 litres of local brew, they claimed it took place in DR Congo.
The YouTube channel, Polycarpfrance5802, said, “DRC children enjoying a big elephant went drunk after the invasion to human settlements and local brew.”
Another YouTube channel, TaifaxMedia, also wrote, “Drunk Elephant in DRC after taking 200L of Local Brew.”
Similarly, the Twitter user who was the post’s originator said he shared it to brighten up the day of his followers.
Reacting to claims about misinformation, the Twitter user advised readers to stop being “too serious” and see the “funny part” of his post.
There have been reports worldwide of elephants who slept for hours after drinking substances suspected to be fermented beverages left in the forest by hunters. See one such report from India here.
DR Congo has been described as full of risk by Future for Elephants, a pressure group home to the largest population of forest elephants alongside countries such as Gabon, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic.
The elephant population in the central African nation is estimated to be about 7,800 to 9,600 distributed across scattered habitats, mainly in the Salonga, Okapi and Virunga regions, Future for Elephants has said.
In light of the above analysis, it is not true that the video in which some children are seen happily hopping onto a sleeping and defenceless elephant took place in Port Harcourt or anywhere else in Nigeria.