An “escaped lioness” that has sparked a massive hunt might not be real, some experts think.
Parts of southern Berlin and Brandenburg have been in lockdown since footage emerged that appeared to show a big cat “tearing down” a wild boar.
Since then, German authorities have been on overdrive to find the apex predator, with some 220 police officers in action and even an armoured car called “Survivor”.
READ MORE: Boozed-up daredevils join search for missing lioness prowling through city
But for all the furore, no trace has since emerged of the phantom feline, the hunt of which has been centred in the municipality of Kleinmachnow where open-air concerts are being moved indoors and even historic tank monuments are being searched.
But as the frenzy continues to whip itself up, some are a little more hesitant to even acknowledge that the lion is real at all.
Rainer Altenkamp, first chairman of the Berlin Nature Conservation Union (NABU) is of a mind to think that what has been seen is actually a wild boar, which are native to the area.
Speaking toBILD, he said: "Even the short, hanging tail with a tassel that is about ten centimetres long and loosely hairy rules out a lioness. The other recognizable features, for example, the round back and the elongated head, fit very well with a wild boar and speak against a predator.”
He added that in the infamous video, the beast can be seen scratching on the ground – a classic move for boars.
He added: "The entire behaviour is completely typical for wild boars in urban areas”.
Scepticism about the existence of the lion has also been echoed by Berlin-based wildlife expert Derk Ehlert.
He told RBB Inforadio that he can only see two boars running across the screen in the video and a lack of evidence since makes him feel suspicious.
He added: "But of course, I believe the witnesses, the colleagues from the police in Berlin, who actually saw such an animal”.
He added: "Basically, a lion can't just be gone, neither can a lioness. It leaves traces.
"It is very striking that at the point where the animal was seen and filmed, not even a footprint can be seen."
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