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German zoo recaptures escaped lions, tigers

June 1, 2018

German authorities managed to recapture lions, tigers and a jaguar after the predators fled their cages in a zoo in Lünebach, near Belgium. The animals got out after a powerful storm flooded parts of the zoo.

Lünebach lion Malor yawns in his cage
African lions such as Malor (pictured) are among the residents of the Eifel zooImage: picture-alliance/dpa/H. Tittel

Several animals managed to break out of a zoo near Lünebach on Friday, following a thunderstorm and flooding that eroded the fences of the enclosures in the hilly Eifel area, in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

The animals included two lions, two tigers, a bear and a jaguar.

Hunters, firefighters, and police officers took part in a massive search effort after the escape, with authorities warning locals to stay indoors. The bear was shot dead during the search.

Drone search

The region was hit by severe storms in the early hours of the morning, flooding sections of the zoo. The flooding weakened the fences and made them "permeable" enough to allow the predators to escape, a police spokesperson said.

Eifel Zoo in Lünebach underwater
Large sections of the Eifel zoo were flooded after an overnight thunderstormImage: picture-alliance/dpa/O. Berg

All of the big cats were recaptured hours later on Friday.

Authorities confirmed the animals were "in their enclosure" and officials were checking the damaged fences.

The privately owned Eifel zoo boasts about 60 different animal species and covers an area of 30 hectares (74 acres). According to the Trierischer Volksfreund daily, authorities used a drone to track the animals down while they were still on the zoo grounds.

The mayor of Arzfeld, Andreas Kruppert, later told reporters that the animals never actually left their enclosures.

ap,dj/aw (AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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