Circus sensationally claims escaped lion Kimba ‘posed no risk’ to public

The circus from which a lion escaped attempted to calm the situation by telling local residents it posed no danger to the public.

The lion went on the run on the Italian town of Ladispoli, close to the capital Rome, but according to a claim made on Sunday (November 12), the apex predator wasn’t a threat. Despite their laid-back approach to the AWOL king of the jungle , named Kimba, residents were told by authorities to stay indoors.

The beast was missing from the Rony Roller Circus for more than five hours on Saturday (November 11) before authorities, with the aid of vets and staff from the circus, tracked it down and sedated it. Campaigners have since used it as an opportunity to petition for wild animals in live entertainment to be banned in Italy.

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The animal’s handler and carer, Rony Vassallo, was not concerned about the eight-year-old lion causing harm to the public. Speaking from the circus to AFP, Mr Vassallo said: "He met with people in an environment he wasn't used to… and nothing happened, he didn't even for a second have the instinct to attack a person."

Instead, rather than being concerned about the lion hurting people, he feared it was Kimba who could come out of the situation badly. He noted that he was stressed "that someone could have harmed the animal, out of fear, or excess enthusiasm".

Events played out in a surreal way, with the Italian press releasing footage of the massive beast nonchalantly strolling through the streets, unfazed by the parked cars around it. The footage is understood to have been captured by locals.

Announcing the capture of Kimba in a Facebook post, Ladispoli mayor Alessandro Grando said: “The lion has been sedated and captured. It will now be handed over by the circus staff. I thank the State Police, the Carabinieri, the Fire Department, the local and provincial police, the Asl [Local Health Authority], and all the volunteers who served during these hours of great apprehension”.

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