Berlin ‘lion’: Wild animal probably a boar, authorities say


German authorities are calling off the search for a suspected lioness after finding no evidence of a big cat on the loose.

Police have been searching for more than a day after being notified about a wild animal by members of the public – but had found no trace.

After speaking to experts, they now believe the creature is a wild boar.

No paw-prints or DNA material, such as animal waste, had been found in areas where the lion was supposedly spotted.

The police told the BBC on Friday that they believed a video widely circulating from the Kleinmachnow area was authentic.

They said two officers had seen the animal about 20m (65ft) away overnight on Thursday and identified it as a “big cat”.

But others were not so sure. One expert told Berlin local radio station RBB that, from footage he had seen, the animal looked more like a boar, which are common in the region.

Earlier on Friday, the search for the animal had intensified, after being scaled down overnight on the recommendation of experts.

Map showing the neighbourhoods of Kleinmachnow, Stahnsdorf and Teltow on the outskirts of Berlin, Germany

Around 120 police officers and wildlife experts, such as vets, had been scouring local wooded areas. Drones, helicopters and heat-seeking cameras were also used.

That was after around a dozen possible sightings of the animal were reported to police overnight, including in the wealthy Zehlendorf area, which is within Berlin’s city borders.

Officers were not amused when young people started playing loud roaring lion sounds on a speaker near to the area where the search was going on.

“That helps neither the local community, nor the police in their search for the animal,” police spokeswoman, Kerstin Schröder, told RBB.

Residents had been told to stay inside, to keep their pets with them and to avoid forest areas.

Experts also issued advice on how to deal with the wild animal if someone came upon it, such as standing still and avoiding eye contact.

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