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No, animals didn’t escape from a New Jersey zoo after Hurricane Ida

Screenshots of satirical tweets about escaped zoo animals have gone viral out of context in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. They are from a parody Twitter account that appropriates CNN’s name and logo. Let’s take a look at the facts.

A tweet from a satirical Twitter account bearing the name “CNN Breaking News” that says, “Breaking: Reports of escaped animals circulate throughout South Orange, New Jersey after the Turtle Back Zoo (@TurtleBackZoo) is severely flooded. Local authorities advise all South Orange residents to stay home until the animals are returned back to their homes.” It includes four images of wild animals in city streets with labels added that reveal their actual contexts.
Animals did not escape from Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, New Jersey, after remnants of Hurricane Ida hit the area.
The account that shared this tweet is not affiliated with CNN and is not a legitimate news source.
It’s a parody account.
Turtle Back Zoo and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr., both confirmed that no animals escaped the zoo during the storms on Sept. 1.
Other instances of this rumor circulated as screenshots of fabricated text messages.

NewsLit takeaway

Rumors of wild animals infiltrating flooded cities after major storms are common — so much so that some have achieved joke-meme status online. Cases of “stolen satire,” in which joke posts and satirical graphics are copied and circulated out of context, are also common. Be sure to fact-check sensational claims in the wake of major events like natural disasters before sharing.


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