Lioness hunt continues near Berlin

German police on Friday continued their search for a wild animal, described as a lioness, that was spotted in Berlin’s residential suburbs overnight and has since remained untraceable despite a powerful tool to track down the cat.

“The search was carried out throughout Friday night and resumed this morning,” said police in the Land of Brandenburg, adding that more than 24 hours of work with police in Berlin had turned up no trace of the kitten.

It was seen on the night of Wednesday to Thursday by a witness, who produced a video in which police believe they have identified a lioness. The same night the police also saw the animal.

The same source said, more than a hundred police officers are engaged in this hunt.

The city of Kleinmachto, southwest of Berlin on the Land of Brandenburg, is at the center of the research system.

Its mayor, Michael Grubert, announced on Friday the deployment of professional animal trackers to join the research, according to the German press.

A huge deployment of police, drones, helicopters had already tried to contain the animal throughout the day on Thursday.

Everything was accompanied by appeals to caution the populace, which oscillated between disbelief and panic.

Residents of several municipalities on the outskirts of the capital have always been invited to avoid wooded areas, many of which are in associated residential areas that extend to the outskirts of the affluent city of Potsdam.

The origin of the likely escaped lioness is currently unknown. According to the police, no animal park, zoo or circus has reported any person missing.

Police search for an escaped wild animal in Stahnsdorf, southwest of Berlin, on July 20, 2023 (AFP – John McDougall)

When asked on Friday morning on RBB radio, Dirk Ehlert, wildlife expert for Berlin Land, believes the video, a mainstay of research, is inconclusive: “In this video, I see two wild boars running from left to right,” he said.

He also found it surprising that no trace has been found where the animal was seen and filmed.

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