A search for a lioness in Germany has been called off – after it emerged the elusive big cat was, in fact, a wild boar.
Panic had spread through Berlin after news emerged of the animal on the loose.
People were told to stay inside, avoid the forest and keep their pets indoors where possible after the alleged sighting in Kleinmachnow.
Anti-terror police scoured woodland and hundreds of officers joined the urgent search.
Michael Grubert, mayor of the town Kleinmachnow, gave a press conference this morning and confirmed the search had been called off.
‘Everything indicates it is not a lioness,’ he said.
Mr Grubert added that the animal sighted in the town was a wild boar, a fact authorities have ‘relative certainty’ of.
Police used helicopters, drones and infrared cameras to search for the animal, with a vet and hunters also part of the effort, which had stretched into a second day.
They were first alerted to the animal in Kleinmachnow, just outside Berlin’s city limits, at around midnight on Wednesday when people reported what appeared to be a big cat chasing a wild boar.
The informants also provided a video which has since been the source of much debate.
Mr Grubert added: ‘You see, when you see the wild boar now, you can already imagine that if it’s a bit brighter in the evening light, that you think that’s a lion.
‘Deep fake videos is a bit exaggerated. But it can of course be that because of the incidence of light, that maybe the car headlights, the darkness of the night simulates it a bit, as if it were a lion.
‘And it may just have been a wild boar again. The video we do assume though that it is real.’
Mr Grubert had told local public broadcaster rbb late on Thursday that authorities would try to comb the forest with ‘professional animal track searchers’.
Police in Brandenburg state tweeted on Friday morning that the search had been unsuccessful during the night but was set to continue. They urged people to call an emergency number if they saw the animal.
Officers also said that none of the zoos, animals shelters, circuses or other facilities they checked was missing a lioness, and authorities say they have no information on one being privately owned in the area.
Police spokesperson Kerstin Schroder told rbb that young people had played a loud recording of lion roars on a Bluetooth device during the night.
‘That helps neither the municipality nor the police in the search for the animal,’ she had said.
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