- Written by Kathryn Armstrong
- BBC News
German authorities have called off the search for a suspected lioness after finding no evidence that a large cat had been released.
Police had been searching for more than a day after members of the public reported the presence of a wild animal – but found no trace.
After speaking to the experts, they now believe the creature to be a wild boar.
No footprints or DNA material, such as animal droppings, has been found in the areas where the lion was supposedly seen.
“There is no acute danger,” Michael Grobert, mayor of the Kleinmachnau district where the animal was first seen, said at a press conference on Friday.
He added that the police would remain on alert if the situation changed.
They said two officers saw the animal about 20 meters (65 feet) away on Thursday night and identified it as a “big cat”.
But others weren’t so sure. An expert told local Berlin radio station RBB that from the footage he saw, the animal looked more like a pig, which is common in the area.
The search for the animal intensified on Friday, with about 120 police officers and wildlife experts touring local woodland areas.
Drones, helicopters and heat cameras have also been used.
That was after about a dozen possible sightings of the animal were reported to police overnight, including in the affluent Zehlendorf district, which lies within Berlin’s city limits.
The officers were not amused when the youths began making the sounds of a lion roaring loudly over a loudspeaker near the area where the search was taking place.
“This does not help the local community, nor the police in their search for the animal,” police spokeswoman Kirsten Schroeder told RBB.
Residents have been asked to stay indoors, keep their pets with them, and avoid forested areas.
Experts have also issued advice on how to deal with the wild animal if one encounters it, such as standing still and avoiding eye contact.
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