German police are searching for a lioness on the streets of Berlin

Police have warned the public to stay indoors on the south-western edge of Berlin while they search the area for a wild animal believed to be an escaped lion.

A police spokesman in the sparsely populated state of Brandenburg around the German capital said the police operation began overnight with the deployment of two helicopters and was expanded in the early hours of Thursday as a hundred officers hunted for the animal.

“We are currently working on the assumption that the animal is a lioness,” the spokesman told Reuters via telephone.

The search area currently covers the Brandenburg municipalities of Kleinmachno and Stahnsdorf.

Earlier on Thursday, Berlin police tweeted that the southern edge of the capital was also included in the high alert area.

Germany’s Federal Office for Civil Defense issued a warning to local residents, also advising them to keep any pets indoors.

When asked where the wild animal might have come from, the police spokesman said it was not clear. He said there were several facilities in the area that could have housed lions, such as zoos and circuses, but none of these places had reported any animals missing.

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