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Berlin’s hunt for a ‘lioness’ was a chaotic wild goose chase

By: Zixian Huang

Around midnight on Thursday, two men saw an animal running after another on the outskirts of Berlin, and both creatures were reported to the local police with a low-quality video as proof.

One was a wild boar and the other apparently was a wild cat, a lioness.

Officials immediately took action, sending out helicopters with thermal imaging cameras, drones, and more than a 100 officers equipped with riot gear in order to hunt down the lioness. Veterinarians and hunters also joined in the search. They combed through 3 heavily-wooded towns, but without avail.

In an attempt to work out the origins of the big cat, the owners of a local circus were called at 2 am to ask if they were missing a lion.

A second report came in near a tennis club in Wannsee, and police advised the residents to keep pets indoors. While daycare centers stayed open, children were not allowed outside. Merchants were advised to not set up their stalls at the weekly market in town.

Yet another sighting occurred in Zehlendorf. However, when a resident called the police on Friday morning claiming that they had seen the lion, the area was scoured, but all the police found were a family of wild boars. A drone followed by 30 or so police officers equipped with heat imaging cameras took part in the search.

This incident caused an uprising of doubt among the public of whether the first sighting of a supposed lioness was real or not. Maybe this was an example of an inadvertent hoax that Heribert Hofer, the director of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research mentioned. “There are reports every year of crocodiles turning up in the lakes where people go swimming, and in the end, they usually turn out to be geese or large ducks that people don’t recognize in strange light conditions,” he said.

So is the animal a lioness or not? Michael Grubert, the mayor of Kleinmachnow, points out that the leg of the supposed lioness was the wrong shape. The slope of it’s back also suggested that it wasn’t a lion. Authorities later determined that the animal seen was probably a wild boar.

Sources: How the Hunt for a Lioness Near Berlin Turned Into a Wild Boar Chase - The New York Times

Police believe there's a lioness on the loose in Berlin - CBS News

German police admit Berlin Lion was ‘most likely’ a boar after embarrassing wild goose chase with riot cops & snipers | The US Sun (

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