That's Probably Not a Lion After All, Say German Police

Animal roaming near Berlin is probably a boar, say authorities
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2023 11:13 AM CDT
Updated Jul 21, 2023 10:12 AM CDT
'Totally Real' Lioness Is on the Lam in Germany
Police patrol during a search operation for a dangerous wild animal near the village of Kleinmachnow in the southern suburbs of Berlin, Germany, Thursday, July 20, 2023.   (Sven Kaeuler/TNN/dpa via AP)
UPDATE Jul 21, 2023 10:12 AM CDT

It appears that a roaming "lion" in neighborhoods near Berlin isn't a lion after all. Authorities now think the animal spotted by witnesses is actually a much less sensational wild boar, reports the BBC. Boars are common in the area, and authorities have found zero physical evidence of a lion. This video had believers looking for a big cat—and it triggered big headlines even outside Germany. But "the body shape and posture of the animal depicted in the video were analyzed by two independent experts," says a police spokesperson, per NBC News. "Both came to the conclusion that it was by no means a lion."

Jul 20, 2023 11:13 AM CDT

Police on the outskirts of Berlin received a report "we couldn't believe" in the early hours of Thursday, reports the Guardian. Two witnesses had "spotted an animal chasing after another," spokesperson Daniel Kiep of Brandenburg Police tells local media, which might not sound so strange except for the fact that "one was a wild boar and the other appeared to be a big cat, a lion." The witnesses "recorded a video on their phones and even experienced police officers had to confirm that we are probably dealing with a lion," Kiep says.

Two officers separately spotted the animal overnight, yet it remains on the loose. It's believed to be resting in a wooded area within the Kleinmachnow, Stahnsdorf and Teltow districts bordering the German capital. Veterinarians and hunters armed with tranquilizers and live ammunition are on site, along with an armored vehicle typically used in anti-terrorism operations, per the BBC. "The first objective is to capture," Kleinmachnow Mayor Michael Grubert says, per the outlet. "Other measures will only be taken by police officers if their lives or the lives of others are endangered." Meanwhile, residents have been warned to stay indoors until the lion is caught.

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It's unclear where it came from. Police have received no reports of animals missing from zoos, animal parks, or circuses. Unaware of any lions held in private zoos or circuses, a local circus director has raised the possibility that the animal was misidentified and might in fact be a Caucasian shepherd dog, per the Guardian. Keip notes that "in the summer you often hear reports of crocodiles in swimming lakes and then it turns out all it was, was a big duck," per the BBC. But "in this case it's obviously totally real," he says. "We're dealing with a lioness that's roaming freely through Teltow, Stahnsdorf, and Kleinmachnow." (More lion stories.)

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