Authorities determined on Friday that there is “no acute danger” for people in an area on the outskirts of Berlin where a potentially dangerous animal was seen.and call off the hunt.
A search turned up no trace of such a predator, and experts who analyzed a video have concluded it was likely a wild boar, they said.
Police were first alerted to the animal in Kleinmachnow, just outside Berlin’s city limits, around midnight on Wednesday, when people reported what appeared to be a large cat chasing a wild boar. The informants also provided the video.
Based on that and a subsequent sighting by their own police, the police initially concluded that the animal was apparently a lioness. But it proved elusive on Thursday and Friday in the flat, wooded area on the border between Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg. Several reported sightings remained unconfirmed; in one case on Friday, police found only a family of wild boars.
For more than 30 hours, residents in the area were advised to “exercise due caution and avoid the adjacent forests” and to mind pets and farm animals. Despite numerous tips from citizens, including some who claimed to have heard a loud roar, none of the information led to the animal being located, police said.
On Friday, police thoroughly combed the forests on both sides of the state border. Helicopters with thermal imaging cameras participated in the search for the animal. Veterinarians and hunters were also called in.
They found no evidence of a lioness, any wild animal other than wild boar — which are common in the area — or any animal that had been killed, Kleinmachnow Mayor Michael Grubert told reporters.
Officials also had experts analyze the video and compare the animal pictured to the body structure of a lioness, Grubert added.
Two experts independently concluded that “this is not a lioness or wild animal” and that the creature “tends to be a wild boar,” he said, adding that the rounded back and thick legs of the animal shown in the dimly lit video don’t fit with it being a lioness.
“We will return to the usual vigilant program and we think there is no acute danger to Kleinmachnow or to the south of Berlin,” the mayor said, adding that the police could act immediately if the situation changes.
Grubert defended the large 36-hour deployment, which involved helicopters, drones and infrared cameras and vets and fighters, as “appropriate”.
“The danger of a wild animal in Kleinmachnow justifies the commitment,” he said, adding that he would do the same “if I were in the situation today.”
The cost of the operation was not immediately disclosed.
It wasn’t the first time Germans had been told to be wary of wild animals.
In May, residents of the central city of Erfurt were startled by the sight of a kangaroo hopping along a busy road after escaping from private property.
In 2019, it took several days for a deadly cobra to be recaptured in the western town of Herne, where residents had been told to keep their windows closed and away from tall grass.
In 2016, zookeepers shot and killed a lion after it escaped from its enclosure in the eastern city of Leipzig and a tranquilizer failed to stop it.
AFP contributed to this report.