The Frankfurt Zoo's White Elephant

A crowd of over 1000 people, paying a mark each, showed up at the Frankfurt Zoo to see a snow-white elephant. Newspaper ads had said that the legendary animal had come all the way from Burma, accompanied by its handlers dressed in their traditional robes, and would be at the zoo for only a day before leaving for Copenhagen. And as promised, the crowd did get to see a snow-white elephant. But the next day they learned that it wasn't a genuine snow-white elephant. It was just one of the zoo's regular grey elephants painted white. However, the people of Frankfurt were willing to forgive the deception since it was the work of the zoo's director, Berhard Grzimek. He had become a hero in post-war Germany because of the passion with which he fought to save the animals of the Frankfurt Zoo, and he was known for being willing to do anything to lure people back to the zoo.

New Zealand Wasp Swarm

New Zealand DJ Phil Shone warned his listeners that a mile-wide wasp swarm was headed towards Auckland, and he urged them to take steps to protect themselves, such as wearing their socks over their trousers when they left for work, and leaving honey-smeared traps outside their doors. Auckland residents dutifully heeded his advice, and panic grew until he finally admitted it had all been a joke. The New Zealand Broadcasting Service wasn't amused. Its director, Prof. James Shelley, denounced the hoax on the grounds that it undermined the rules of proper broadcasting. From then on, a memo was sent out each year before April Fool's Day reminding New Zealand radio stations of their obligation to report nothing but the truth.