Police call off Berlin lioness hunt, say sighting was probably a wild boar

Police call off Berlin lioness hunt, say sighting was probably a wild boar

After more than 30 hours of fruitless searching for traces of a big cat, police have called off the hunt, saying that the animal in the video that sparked the operation was most likely a wild boar. 

Escaped lioness in Berlin was probably a wild boar, police say

A lioness hunt in a small town on the outskirts of Berlin has proven to be something of a wild pig chase, after police announced on Friday evening that they had found no traces of a lion or any other large predator. Experts who examined the video footage that triggered the lion hunt said that in all likelihood the animal was probably a wild boar. 

“Everything indicates it is not a lioness,” Michael Grubert, the mayor of the town where the lioness was supposedly spotted, Kleinmachnow, told a press conference. “There is no hazardous situation. All tip-offs have led nowhere.” On Friday evening, police in Kleinmachnow and the state of Brandenburg gave the all-clear and called off the search. 

Search for lioness lasted over 30 hours

The conclusion was only reached after a 30-hour operation that saw more than 300 police officers, veterinarians, hunters, helicopters, armoured vehicles, drones and thermal-imaging cameras deployed to scour acres of woodland. 

On Thursday morning, residents of three municipalities on the outskirts of Berlin received a warning that they should stay indoors and bring pets and farm animals inside. Police later in the day released a statement saying they were looking for a “loose, dangerous animal,” most likely a lioness. 

The search continued overnight, as police announced that they’d received information from witnesses who had filmed the animal attacking and killing a wild pig. A statement was also released saying that two police officers had seen the animal themselves. People were warned to avoid forested areas in southern Berlin, while an outdoor concert in Kleinmachnow was moved indoors. 

Lion hunt turns out to be a wild pig chase

However, as time passed people became more sceptical and started to question whether the animal in the video footage was actually a lioness. Biologists pointed to the curvature of the animal’s back, saying it was too flat for a large cat. The sound of a lion roaring in the Berlin district of Zehlendorf turned out to be a group of teenagers playing a prank with a bluetooth speaker. The wild boar that the lion was supposed to have killed never turned up, neither did the footage. 

The state of Brandenburg is actually home to around 24 registered lions, but none were reported as missing last week. After a search on Thursday morning only uncovered a family of wild boars, police concluded that the lioness was likely never going to materialise. Mayor Grubert however justified the operation on Friday, stating that the “risk situation was such that it was justifiable to employ police.” 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

Read more



Leave a comment