Old clip shows intoxicated elephant in Ivory Coast, not Nigeria

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A Twitter post featuring a video of children harassing an unresponsive elephant which had consumed alcohol claims that the event took place in southern Nigeria. In response, several users decried the treatment of the animal as "shameful" and called for the arrest of those seen in the footage. However, AFP Fact Check found the video was filmed in Ivory Coast in 2020.

"An elephant entered a village in Port Harcourt creeks, and when the villagers ran away, he went and drank 200 liters of local brew (Ogogoro) which belonged to a man named Tony that was meant for sale. We now have a bad market and a drunken sleeping elephant," reads the tweet published on May 11, 2023.

A screenshot of the false post, taken on April 15, 2023

"Ogogoro" is a popular local gin in West Africa (archived here) extracted from palm trees.

The post, which shows mostly children climbing on the elephant, has been shared more than 300 times.

Users in the comments shared their dismay at the video.

"This is so sad to see. Shows the depths of ignorance in Nigeria, we have really got a long way to go educating people,” reads one comment.

However, the claim that the video was filmed in Nigeria is false.

Footage from Ivory Coast

AFP Fact Check confirmed that the people in the video speak French, a language not widely used in Nigeria.

By conducting a keyword search in French for "drunk elephant Africa", AFP Fact Check found the original footage shared in several news articles and videos from Ivory Coast.

A headline from a 2020 France 24 article (archived here) reads "Ivory Coast: once the children’s playmate, the lonely elephant Ahmed becomes aggressive and an alcoholic".

Beneath the headline is a screenshot from the video shared in the false tweet.

A screenshot of the France 24 article, taken on April 15, 2023

The article also includes the same clip shared in a September 2020 Facebook post by a user based in Ivory Coast.

The caption reads: "Divo: an elephant got into a place where they make koutoukou (a fermented drink made in Africa). The people making the drink fled, and the elephant gorged himself on at least 200 litres intended for sale. The result: a drunk elephant and children playing on him."

Divo refers to a city in Cote d’Ivoire about 190 kilometres from the country’s capital, Abidjan, or the region where the town is situated.

A screenshot from Google Maps, taken on May 15, 2023

Ahmed the elephant

The elephant in the footage became well-known in Ivory Coast for his destructive behaviour and penchant for alcohol.

According to the France 24 news article, Ahmed typically roamed around the small village of Guitri in southern Ivory Coast, located 44 kilometres south of Divo.

AFP Fact Check also found a video (archived here) produced by an Ivorian television news channel documenting an effort to "save Ahmed" as he became increasingly violent, causing tensions with the locals.

At 00'54", the documentary includes the same clip shared in the false tweet.

Ahmed was moved to the Abidjan Zoo (archived here) before being relocated to the N’Zi River Lodges reserve in central Ivory Coast (archived here) in September 2020.