German authorities have determined that there is “no acute danger” to people in an area on the edge of Berlin where a potentially dangerous animal was spotted, saying they no longer believe a lioness is at large.
A search turned up no sign of any such predator, and experts who analysed a video have concluded that it may have been a wild boar.
Police 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.
Based on that and a subsequent sighting of their own, police initially concluded that the animal was apparently a lioness.
But the big cat proved elusive in searches on Thursday and Friday in the flat, wooded area on the boundary between Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg.
Several reported sightings went unconfirmed; in one case on Friday, police only found a family of wild boars.
On Friday, police thoroughly searched woodland on both sides of the state boundary and found no indication at all of a lioness, any wild animal other than wild boars – which are common in the area – or an animal that had been killed, Kleinmachnow mayor Michael Grubert told reporters.
Officials also had experts analyse the video and compare the animal that was depicted with the body structure of a lioness, Mr Grubert added.
Two experts concluded independently of each other that “this isn’t a lioness or a wild animal” and that the creature “tends toward a wild boar”, he said.
“We think there is no acute danger for Kleinmachnow or for the south of Berlin,” the mayor said, adding that police would be able to step up straight away if the situation changes.
Mr Grubert defended the large, 36-hour deployment, in which helicopters, drones and infrared cameras were used and vets and hunters participated, as “appropriate”.
“The danger of a wild animal in Kleinmachnow justifies the deployment,” he said, adding that he would act the same way “if I were in the situation today”.