A lioness is believed to be on the loose on the southern outskirts of Berlin.
Authorities in Germany on Thursday morning warned people in and around Kleinmachnow, Teltow and Stahnsdorf, just outside Berlin’s city limits, to stay inside and take their pets indoors because of an “escaped wild animal”.
The alert was later extended to southern areas of the city and a message went out on an official warning app to say the animal is believed to be a lioness.
A vet and two hunters were helping with the search, which has also involved helicopters.
Police did not know whose lion it is.
The alarm was raised after two men saw a big cat running after a wild boar, police spokesman Daniel Keip told local public broadcaster rbb.
Wild boars are common in Germany.
“The two gentlemen recorded a smartphone video and even experienced police officers had to confirm that it is probably a lioness,” he said, adding that there have been various reported sightings.
Neither of Berlin’s two zoos nor any circuses or animal shelters in the area are missing a lioness.
Police increased their presence in the Kleinmachnow area and warned people of the possible danger by loudspeaker, though there was no order to stay indoors.
Despite the alert, life appeared to be continuing as normal in the town of about 20,000 people, with people walking dogs and cycling, German news agency dpa reported.
Children’s nurseries were open but children were not being allowed to play in the gardens, the local council said.
The town hall was open. Traders at the town’s market were urged not to set up stalls.