All boar, no roar: 'Lioness' search near Berlin ends - GulfToday

All boar, no roar: 'Lioness' search near Berlin ends


Taenzer, 72, and Astrid Viti, 65, walk in a forest, after police warned the public that a suspected lioness was on the loose, in Zehlendorf, Berlin, on Friday. Reuters

German police on Friday called off a search for a wild animal initially believed to be a lioness roaming the outskirts of Berlin after determining it was more likely a wild boar.

In a story that fascinated Germany and gave rise to a slew of satirical memes on social media, two people had spotted early Thursday what appeared to be a lioness chasing a wild boar down a street outside the capital.

However their short, grainy mobile phone video and a sighting by officers from their police car remained the only evidence of an animal more at home on the African savanna than the sandy soil of eastern Germany.

The mayor of the small town of Kleinmachnow southwest of Berlin, Michael Grubert, told reporters around 1100 GMT on Friday that the search had been called off when experts determined it was probably an animal far more common to the region.


"Everything indicates it is not a lioness," Grubert said. The animal thought to be the lioness in the original amateur video was "with relative certainty" a boar, he said.

Two specialists "including one from South Africa" had evaluated the video, comparing it with images of lions on the prowl and found marked differences.

"Both came to the conclusion there was no way it was a lion," Kleinmachnow city spokeswoman Martina Bellack said in a statement.

For more than 30 hours, residents in the area had been advised "to act with appropriate caution and to avoid the adjacent forests" and look after pets and farm animals.

Despite numerous tips from citizens, including a few claiming to have heard a loud roar, none of the information had led to the animal being located, police said.

'Absolutely justified'

Officers had been combing the streets of suburban communities in the small hours of Friday using night-vision goggles and drones, and they resumed a forest search at daybreak.

Grubert had told public broadcaster RBB earlier that professional animal trackers searching for dung or bloody remains of prey had been enlisted alongside veterinarians and hunters.

But he acknowledged that the massive operation involving up to 300 police officers from Berlin and the surrounding Brandenburg state as well as helicopters and thermal-imaging cameras was stretching the community's resources. "This can't go on for days," he said.

Grubert later defended the operation after giving the all-clear, saying that due the potential danger of a big cat at large, it had been "absolutely justified."

Agence France-Presse 


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