Berlin Police in Berlin on Wednesday evening began a large-scale search for a wild animal that is believed to be roaming freely in the German capital. It is thought to be a lioness. The animal was last seen on the southern outskirts of the city, and police searched a forest area there while rescuers scoured the ground with helicopters and drones.
Berlin police said they heard about the wild animal from witnesses.
“The message came in around midnight, which we all could not imagine. Two men saw an animal running after another,” said police spokesman Daniel Kiep to local media. “One was a wild boar and the other was apparently a wild cat, a lioness. The two men also videotaped and even experienced police officers confirmed that it is probably a lioness.”
Helicopters with thermal imaging cameras participated in the search for the animal. Veterinarians and hunters were also called in.
“There have been several sightings, so at this point we’re basically assuming a lioness is roaming freely through Teltow, Stahnsdorf and Kleinmachnow or the adjoining area of the federal capital,” Keip said.
The police suspect that the lioness is in a small forest area and is probably resting.
It is not clear where the animal could have come from.
“Neither zoos nor circuses lack such an animal,” the police spokesman told reporters. There was also no direct evidence that a private household in the area had kept a pet lion.
If the animal is found, authorities will have to decide whether to stun or kill it.
Local police advised residents not to leave their homes and not to keep pets out.
Kleinmachnow municipality said daycare centers remained open, but children were not allowed to go outside. Merchants at the town’s weekly market were advised not to set up their stalls.
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