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

BERLIN: Authorities hoped Friday to have an expert on animal tracks join the hunt for an elusive and potentially dangerous animal — suspected to be a lioness — spotted on the edge of Berlin as the search stretched into a second day.
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 on Wednesday when people reported what appeared to be a big cat chasing a wild boar.
The informants also provided a video. Based on that and a subsequent sighting of their own, the police concluded that the animal was apparently a lioness. But it proved elusive in the flat, wooded area on the boundary between Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg.
Kleinmachnow Mayor Michael Grubert told local public broadcaster rbb late Thursday that authorities would try to comb the forest with “professional animal track searchers.”
“We have to say that this can’t carry on for days,” he said, adding that he expected the search to “intensify” on Friday.
However, the municipality said Friday that it still had to find an animal track expert, German news agency dpa reported. It was also unclear whether a hair found Thursday on a tree would provide evidence pointing the animal.
Police in Brandenburg state tweeted Friday morning that the search was unsuccessful during the night and was continuing. They urged people to call an emergency number if they see the animal. Police have 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.
Grubert says the aim is to catch the animal, if necessary by tranquilizing it.
Not everyone was taking the search seriously. Police spokesperson Kerstin Schröder 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 said.

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