An image showing an elephant carrying a lion cub with its trunk took another lap around the internet in September 2018, after it was labeled “one of the best photos of the century” and attached to a backstory reporting that the elephant was saving the cub from exhaustion:
Considered one of the best photos of this century. A lioness and her cub were walking but the heat was excessive and the puppy was in great distress walking. The elephant realized that his cub would die and carried him to a pool of water alongside his mother. Wild animals huh?
This image can’t be fairly considered one of the best photographs of this century, because it’s not a genuine photograph.
The image of the elephant carrying a lion cub with its trunk was created by Kruger National Park and shared to the South Africa organization’s official Twitter account, Kruger Sightings, on April Fool’s Day in 2018. The original posting was accompanied by the words “Sloof Lirpa,” or “April Fools” backwards:
We were following a lioness carrying her cub & she was getting really tired. An elephant showed up wanting to help the lioness. The elephant put its trunk down, the cub jumped up & the elephant carried the lion cub!!⁰S28, 3km from S entrance
Tinged by Sloof Lirpa pic.twitter.com/aebvHwtrv5
— Kruger Sightings (@LatestKruger) April 1, 2018
We haven’t been able to locate the source photographs for the two lions in this image, but the picture of the elephant was taken in 2005 at Kruger National Park. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the original elephant photograph (left) and the doctored image showing the elephant carrying a lion cub (right):