Police in the German capital warned residents to stay indoors as they believed a lioness was on the loose. Inhabitants of Berlin’s southern suburbs could not leave their homes and were warned to keep pets inside, as a major police operation got underway to recapture the animal.
The operation began following an emergency call from a member of the public who said they’d seen the lioness attack a wild boar – an animal commonly found in the rural area surrounding the city.
Emergency services were contacted on the evening of July 19 and more than 30 police cars and helicopters were involved in the subsequent operation. Local veterinarians were also called upon to assist. Later that night, police officers said they had seen the animal and it was indeed a lioness. The search carried on into the night with night vision and thermal imaging equipment.
However, there was some confusion the next day about where the lioness had come from because a check of the local zoo, circuses, wildlife parks, and animal sanctuaries found no lioness had escaped.
The hunt descended into chaos as mischievous residents played sounds of a lioness roar into the night and some officials said they doubted the truth of the story. Police called off the search on July 21 and admitted that the animal was probably a boar.
A genuine case of a lion on the loose is thankfully extremely rare, but one such incident almost occurred in Australia in 2022. An adult and four cubs climbed under their enclosure in Sydney in December but did not take the opportunity to explore the city – instead, they opted to stay close to their enclosure and were calmly placed back inside as soon as their “escape” was discovered.
In the US, a lion killed a 22-year-old in North Carolina after escaping from a locked room while zookeepers cleaned its enclosure. Alexandra Black had worked at the zoo for only ten days.