Police believe a lion is on the loose in Berlin

Berlin – Police in Berlin launched a large-scale manhunt Wednesday evening for a wild animal believed to be on the loose in the German capital. It is considered to be a lion. The animal was last seen on the city’s southern outskirts, and police searched a wooded area there as emergency workers searched the ground from helicopters and drones.

Berlin police said they learned about the wild animal from witnesses.

“In the middle of the night, we received the most unimaginable news. Two men were seen running after an animal,” police spokesman Daniel Keep told local media. “One was a wild boar, the other a wild cat, a lion. Both recorded a video and even experienced police officers confirmed that it could be a lion”.

Two men, one with a dog and a shirt bearing the words “Community Hunter,” stand next to a car during a search operation for a wild animal near the southern border of Berlin, Germany, on July 20, 2023.

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Helicopters equipped with thermal imaging cameras were deployed to search for the animal. Veterinarians and hunters were also summoned.

“There are different scenarios, so we actually assume that a lion is running freely through Delta, Stansdorf and Kleinmachno or the surrounding area of ​​the federal capital,” Keep said.

Police said on Thursday that the lion was in a small patch of forest and probably resting, but after reports of another being spotted in the woods, officials came to a tennis club on the outskirts of Wanxi and warned people to stay indoors. On Thursday afternoon, there was another sighting in the Berlin-Zehlendorf area, suggesting it may be moving north towards central Berlin, although it is still in the outer districts.

It is not known where the animal came from.

“Neither zoos nor circuses have found such an animal,” a police spokesman told reporters. There was no immediate evidence that the lion was being kept as a pet at a private home in the area.

Germany has no law against keeping wild animals as pets, and people can theoretically keep any animal, including lions. The Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species is the only country that regulates the keeping of animals at a national level. Under that agreement, keeping animals with protected status requires specific permits from national authorities.

Police officers search for a wild animal believed to be a lion in Stansdorf, southwest of Berlin, Germany on July 20, 2023.

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Once the animal is found, officers must decide whether to stun or kill it.

Local police have advised people not to come out of their homes and keep pets outside.

The municipality of Kleinmachno said daycare centers were open, but children were not allowed outside. Traders were advised not to set up shop in the weekly market in the city.

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