20 July 2023

German police hunt for lioness on the loose on the outskirts of Berlin

20 July 2023

German police have been searching with helicopters, drones and infrared cameras as well as a vet and hunters for a lioness seen overnight on the outskirts of Berlin.

Police were alerted to the animal in Kleinmachnow, just outside Berlin’s city limits, at about midnight on Tuesday by people reporting seeing a big cat chasing a wild boar.

Based on a video provided by the callers and a sighting of their own, police concluded the animal is a lioness.

Helicopters and 30 police cars took part in the search, which continued on Thursday afternoon.

A vet and two hunters were also involved and a search with two drones and infrared cameras was underway in an area where the animal was spotted.

People in Kleinmachnow, a town of about 20,000 in a flat, wooded area on the boundary between Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg, were advised to stay indoors if possible — and in any case to refrain from walks and jogs in the woods and to take dogs – at most – for short walks on a lead.

Local authorities left children’s nurseries open, though they were asked not to let children outside, and scaled back the town’s weekly market.

The warning was extended to neighbouring southern areas of Berlin and an alert was sent on an official warning app.

On Thursday afternoon, police in the capital tweeted to say there had been a “possible sighting” of the animal just inside the city limits.

“The primary aim, if at all possible, is to capture the animal, if necessary with an anaesthetic,” Kleinmachnow mayor Michael Grubert said.

“Other measures will only be taken on a case-by-case basis by police officers on the ground if their own lives or those of others are endangered.”

Police said they sought information on where the animal came from during the night, but none of the zoos, animals shelters, circuses or other facilities they checked was missing a lioness.

Mr Grubert said there was no information on one being privately owned in the area and he did not know whether owning such an animal privately is even allowed.

He said authorities consider it unlikely the animal has gone very far from where it was first sighted.

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