‘Lioness’ on the loose? More experts join police in second-day search for elusive animal

BERLIN (AP) — Animal track experts joined the hunt Friday for an elusive and potentially dangerous animal — believed to be a lioness — spotted on the outskirts of Berlin as the search stretched into a second day, authorities said.

Police used helicopters, drones and infrared cameras to search for the animal, with a vet and hunters also part of the effort. They were first alerted to the animal in Kleinmachnow, just outside Berlin’s city limits, around midnight Wednesday when people reported what appeared to be a large cat chasing a wild boar.

The informants also provided a video. Based on this and a later sighting, police concluded the animal was apparently a lioness. But he proved elusive in the flat, wooded area on the border between Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg.

Kleinmachnow Mayor Michael Grubert told local public broadcaster rbb on Thursday evening that authorities would try to comb the forest on Friday with “professional animal trackers”.

“We have to say this can’t last for days,” he said, adding that he expected the search to “heighten up” on Friday.

Brandenburg State Police tweeted Friday morning that the search had failed overnight and was continuing. They urged people to call an emergency number if they see the animal.

Police said none of the zoos, animal sanctuaries, circuses or other facilities they checked were missing a lioness, and authorities say they have no information of any private property in the area. Grubert says the goal is to catch the animal, if necessary by tranquilizing it.

Not everyone took research seriously. Police spokeswoman Kerstin Schröder told rbb that youths played a loud recording of lion roars on a Bluetooth device overnight. “It does not help the municipality or the police in the search for the animal,” she said.

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