Berlin Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: — Police in Berlin launched a large-scale search Wednesday night for a wild animal believed to be on the loose in the German capital. He thinks she is a lioness. The animal was last seen on the southern outskirts of the city, and police were searching a wooded area there while emergency workers scoured the ground from helicopters and drones.
Berlin police said they learned about the wild animal from witnesses.
“At around midnight the message came in that we couldn’t all imagine. Two men saw one animal running after another,” police spokesman Daniel Cape told local media. “One was a wild boar and the other was apparently a wild cat, a lioness. The two men also recorded a video and experienced police officers confirmed it was likely a lioness.”
Helicopters equipped with thermal imaging cameras took part in the search for the animal. Veterinarians and hunters were also called.
“There have been various sightings, so we’re actually assuming at the moment that a lioness is running freely through Tiltow, Stansdorf and Kleinmachnow or the vicinity of the federal capital,” said Kip.
On Thursday, police said they suspected the lioness was in a small woodland area and may have been resting, but after another sighting was reported in the woods, officers came to a nearby tennis club in the suburb of Wannsee and warned people there to stay indoors. Later on Thursday afternoon, another sighting was reported in Berlin-Zehlendorf, indicating that the animal could be moving north towards central Berlin, although it was still in the outer regions.
It was not clear where the animal came from.
“Neither zoos nor circuses miss such an animal,” a police spokesman told reporters. Nor was there direct evidence that a private home in the area kept a lion as a pet.
There is no law prohibiting the ownership of wild animals as pets in Germany, and people can theoretically keep any animal, including lions. Only the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species regulates animal conservation at the national level in a country. Under this agreement, the preservation of animals with protected status requires specific permissions from national authorities.
If the animal is found, the authorities will have to decide whether to drug or kill it.
Local police advised residents not to leave their homes and not to leave pets outdoors.
Kleinmachnau municipality said daycare centers remained open but children were not allowed out. Merchants at the town’s weekly market were advised not to set up their stalls.
“Professional web geek. Alcohol fan. Devoted zombie trailblazer. Certified social media lover. Amateur creator. Friendly food nerd.”