Dhe residents of Kleinmachnow are used to wild animals. When walking in broad daylight, especially when returning home at night, encountering a herd of ten or more wild boars is part of everyday life in the town of 20,000, which is located in Brandenburg on the south-western border of Berlin. Raccoons on the terrace are not a sensation. The fox in the garden is not worth mentioning. But a lioness? That hasn’t happened here either. In this respect, the attention was great when the people of Kleinmachnow were warned on public channels and in neighborhood chats on Thursday morning that such a big cat had been sighted in the village at night.
Local residents had filmed the animal and informed the authorities at midnight. They took the warning seriously and started looking for the big cat. Helicopters took off that night and police officers were deployed. This remained the case throughout the day, thermal imaging cameras were used, as were drones. The mayor of Kleinmachnow, Michael Grubert (SPD), said in a press conference at noon that the animal had not yet been found.
So far there have only been short, nocturnal video recordings. Grubert said on Thursday afternoon that “instantly” one was convinced of the authenticity of the video. In addition, however, police officers also sighted the animal at night. Further sightings were initially reported during the day, but were later denied. The recordings led authorities and experts to believe that it could be a lioness.
Lions are not domesticated
“For me, the picture is compatible with a young lioness,” said the head of the Institute for Animal Pathology at the Free University of Berlin, Achim Gruber, of the FAZ, but added: “Based on the video, I’m not completely convinced.” There are many arguments that it is a lioness. “But the final proof is still pending for me,” says Gruber. The mobile phone recording is blurred and the light could be deceptive.
The animal is “very likely to be dangerous, which is why there is a great risk and a great need for action”. Lions are among those animals that are not domesticated. Even if they have lived with humans for a long time, they remain dangerous. Gruber relies on the hunting dogs that were looking for the animal. The dogs that are used are very good. If they find no traces, this is “a strong piece of the puzzle” against the hypothesis that you are dealing with a lioness.
Since all zoos and animal parks in the area assured on Thursday that they would not miss a lioness or other big cat, the question arises as to where the animal comes from. Investigations were started by the Kleinmachnow community that night to find out where it came from. Mayor Grubert said in an interview with Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg in the morning that speculation that someone in Kleinmachnow was keeping a lion privately was “pure speculation”.