BERLIN (AP) — German authorities warned people in Berlin’s southern suburbs on Thursday to watch out for a potentially dangerous animal, suspected to be a lioness, that was on the loose.
Police in Brandenburg state, which surrounds the capital, issued a warning in the early morning hours of an “escaped wild animal” and asked people in and around Kleinmachnow, Teltow and Stahnsdorf — just outside Berlin’s city limits — not to leave their houses and to bring their pets indoors.
The warning was later extended to southern areas of Berlin and an alert was sent on an official warning app that the animal was suspected to be a lioness. A vet and two hunters were participating in a search for the creature, which also involved helicopters. Police had no immediate information on who owned it.
Two men reported seeing a big cat running after a wild boar, the latter common in and around Berlin, police spokesperson Daniel Keip told local public broadcaster rbb.
“The two gentlemen recorded a smartphone video, and even experienced police officers had to confirm that it is probably a lioness,” he said, adding that there were various reported sightings.
Neither of Berlin’s two zoos nor any circuses or animal shelters in the area were missing a lioness.
Police increased their presence in the Kleinmachnow area and warned people of the possible danger by loudspeaker, but there was no order to stay indoors.
Life appeared to be continuing as normal Thursday in the town of around 20,000 people, with people walking dogs and out cycling, German news agency dpa reported.
The local council said that child daycare centers were open, but children weren’t being allowed into their outside yards, and the town hall remained open. Traders at the town’s market were recommended not to set up stalls.