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Reports of a Lioness Near Berlin Prompt a Sprawling Search

Fri 21 Jul 2023    
| 2 min read

After reports of a “loose, dangerous animal” that is thought to be an escaped lioness surfaced overnight, residents in Berlin’s south-western suburbs are being encouraged to stay inside.

The Brandenburg police warned residents of the bordering Berlin neighborhoods of Teltow, Stahnsdorf, and Kleinmachnow to stay inside on Thursday and to avoid going for walks in the woods. Nurseries were permitted to operate, but were instructed not to allow kids to play outside.

The big cat, which police believed was resting in a wooded area, is being sought after by authorities using helicopters, drones, and thermal imaging cameras. Officials from the Potsdam-Mittelmark district claimed a veterinarian and two armed hunters were on the scene and under orders to stun or kill the animal.

“Around midnight we received a notification that we couldn’t believe,” the Brandenburg police spokesperson Daniel Kiep told the broadcaster rbb. “Two passersby spotted an animal chasing after another. One was a wild boar and the other appeared to be a big cat, a lion. The two men recorded a video on their phones and even experienced police officers had to confirm that we are probably dealing with a lion.”

At a press conference held at noon, police confirmed that despite two officers seeing the animal in two different incidents overnight, there had been no other sightings. Reports of a sighting in the Berlin neighborhood of Zehlendorf proved to be false leads.

According to Brandenburg’s fire services, the huge animal was “presumably a lioness”. The director of a local circus, however, told the local media that he was unaware of any lions being kept in local circuses or private zoos and suggested the animal might have been a mistaken Caucasian shepherd dog. “If it’s a lion I’ll eat a broom,” Michel Rogall told the press.

The police claimed they were not aware of any lion escapes in the neighborhood. “Neither an animal park, a zoo nor a circus is missing such an animal,” a spokesperson said. Both of Berlin’s two zoos, Tierpark Berlin in the old east and the Zoological Gardens in the old west, affirmed that no animals were missing from their enclosures.

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