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Friday 21, July

Lion hysteria: We examine the evidence

As the hunt for the alleged lioness continues in Berlin's Kleinmachow area, we examine the evidence so far.

IMAGO / Mauersberger

Friday 21, July

Lion hysteria: We examine the evidence

The hunt for the alleged lioness continues, as over 100 police officers search a forested area between Richard-Strauss-Weg and the main railway. As theories mount, we examine the latest evidence to try and get to the bottom of Berlin’s hottest news story.

The video

In the early hours of Thursday morning, a witness filmed what appears to be a lioness (or at least some kind of large animal) chasing down and killing a wild boar. While the video clip is just six seconds long and clearly low quality, it does show some kind of large beast rustling around in the bushes. According to Christian Kern, director of the Tierpark Berlin, “Based on the short recordings that can currently be seen online, it cannot be ruled out that it is a lioness. However, we cannot confirm this with certainty due to the poor quality of the recordings”.

The evidence

On Thursday evening, as police patrolled An der Stammbahn in Kleinmachnow on the border of Zehlendorf, a hunting expert spotted a clue. At the corner of Rudolf-Breitscheid-Strasse and Richard-Strauss-Weg, hunter Peter Hemmen reported seeing marks made by the creature on the bark of a tree. A roaring-like sound was also heard through the streets of Kleinmachnow, although this (somewhat unsurprisingly) turned out to be a prank.

The escape theory

The veterinary office at Potsdam-Mittelmark has stated that it’s not aware of any lionesses being kept as a private pet in Kleinmachnow. According to a spokesperson, if you want to keep a wild animal like a lion, you would have to register it with the authorities. Right now, 23 lions are registered with the Brandenburg State Environment Agency. Only one of which is kept privately, while the rest are in circuses and zoos. According to official reports, no big cat owners have reported a missing or escaped animal.

This utterly wild story just keeps developing, so only time will tell exactly what this elusive beast has in store for us.