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German police call off hunt for Berlin 'lioness' and believe mystery creature was a wild boar

Police patrol during a search operation for a dangerous wild animal near the village of Kleinmachnow in the southern suburbs of Berlin, Germany.
Police patrol during a search operation for a dangerous wild animal near the village of Kleinmachnow in the southern suburbs of Berlin, Germany. Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By AP
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Police had used drones, helicopters and infrared cameras in their search but called it off after consulting with experts.

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Police in Germany have called off the search for a possible lioness that might have been on the prowl.

Authorities determined on Friday that there is “no acute danger” to people in an area on the edge of Berlin where a potentially dangerous animal was spotted, saying they no longer believe that a lioness is at large.

A search turned up no sign of such a predator and experts who analysed a video have concluded that it was probably a wild boar.

Police were first alerted to the animal in Kleinmachnow, just outside Berlin’s city limits, around midnight on Wednesday when people reported what appeared to be a big cat chasing a wild boar. The informants also provided a video.

Based on that and a subsequent sighting of their own, police initially concluded the animal was apparently a lioness. But it proved elusive in searches on Thursday and Friday in the flat, wooded area on the boundary between Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg. 

Several reported sightings went unconfirmed; in one case on Friday, police only found a family of wild boars.

On Friday, police thoroughly combed woodland on both sides of the state boundary and found no indication at all of a lioness or indeed any wild animal other than wild boars — which are common in the area — or an animal that had been killed, Kleinmachnow Mayor Michael Grubert told reporters.

Officials also had experts analyse the video and compare the animal that was depicted with the body structure of a lioness, Grubert added. 

Two experts concluded independently of each other that “this isn't a lioness or a wild animal” and that the creature “tends toward a wild boar," he said.

“We will return to the usual vigilant program and we think there is no acute danger for Kleinmachnow or for the south of Berlin,” the mayor said, adding that police would be able to step back up straight away if the situation changes.

Grubert defended the large, 36-hour deployment, in which helicopters, drones and infrared cameras were used and vets and hunters participated, as “appropriate.”

“The danger of a wild animal in Kleinmachnow justifies the deployment,” he said, adding that he would act the same way “if I were in the situation today.”

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