Light Wave


No Mane Event: Berlin ‘Lion’ Actually a Swine, Police Say

By Jake Beardslee · July 25, 2023

Authorities in Berlin launched an extensive search for a rogue "lion" before determining the animal was likely a wild boar.  Michael Gäbler, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

BERLIN - After an extensive search involving more than 100 police officers, authorities in Berlin now believe the “lion” spotted in a viral video is actually a wild boar - prompting some observers to muse that the swine should be flattered. 

“After evaluating the video material carefully, we conclude that the situation is not acutely dangerous,” said Michael Grubert, Mayor of Kleinmachnow, a town that lies outside of Berlin. “We conclude that the video that was recorded on Wednesday night does not show a predatory cat.”

Grubert pointed to key differences between the animal in the footage and an actual lion. “What we see up here is a rounded back. The legs are fairly thick,” he said, pointing to a diagram. “Here the neck is very short. While here it’s very long. The tail we see on the upper image is also very short with a tassel. While a lion’s tail is longer and it’s also more muscular.”

The search prompted kindergarten closures and panic among Berlin residents last week as authorities used drones, infrared cameras, and tips from locals to locate the beast. Some residents actually reported hearing lion roars in the area, which turned out to be the work of pranksters. 

While the extensive police search has now ended, officials did admit a wild creature was originally caught on video. As for walking dogs, the authorities have declared it safe, but recommend taking normal safety measures whenever near wildlife. 

The incident has sparked amusement across the internet. Either way, residents are relieved the panic is over.

Light Wave commentary

The saga of Berlin’s phantom lion illustrates the power of viral videos to spark public panic and prompt hasty responses from authorities. The extensive “lion hunt” in response to ambiguous video footage turned out to be an overreaction fueled by public panic and pressure. In the end, the revelation that the “king of the jungle” was actually just a humble hog brought a welcome sigh of amused relief.