‘Escape’ of big cats from German zoo turns out to be false alarm

A false alarm of the escape of five big cats from a private German zoo triggered a massive search operation and caused panic among locals on Friday afternoon. The incident happened at Eifel Zoo in the municipality of Luenebach near Luxembourg. Initial reports said the predators fled the zoo following severe thunderstorm and flooding early on Friday. Floods partially damaged the fence around the 30-hectare facility and animals including two lions, two tigers, a jaguar and a bear escaped, reports said. The bear was shot on zoo grounds during the search operation. Local residents were advised to stay indoors and report any sightings to police. Later, mayor of Arzfeld, Andreas Kruppert, told reporters that the lions, tigers and jaguar never left their enclosures. Zookeepers lost track of the big cats during the storm. Later they found them on the zoo grounds with the help of aerial drones after the water receded. However, one bear escaped after flooding damaged the fence around its enclosure. Officials later shot the bear after finding him on one of the zoo’s public paths. The zoo, which has some 400 animals belonging to 60 different species including Siberian tigers (one pictured) and African lions, was opened in 1972.