POLICE were forced to admit today a "lioness" spotted roaming through Berlin was probably a wild boar.
Officers called off the extensive two-day search on the outskirts of the capital after determining the beast was not a big cat after all.
A massive operation with riot cops, snipers and animal hunters was sparked yesterday after a video was handed to police showing what appeared to be a lioness.
But police spokesman Daniel Keip confirmed this afternoon they no longer believe the animal was a dangerous predator.
And the mayor of Kleinmachnow, Michael Grubert, told a press analysis of the video suggests it was a wild boar.
He said: "By all human judgement, we're assuming it's not a lioness."
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The animal in the video previously thought to be the lioness was "with relative certainty" a boar, he said.
He added that the footage had been analysed by two specialists who compared it with images of lions on the prowl.
"Both came to the conclusion there was no way it was a lion," Kleinmachnow city spokeswoman Martina Bellack said in a statement.
Police had been combing the streets of suburban communities southwest of Berlin for over 30 hours using night-vision goggles and drones but to no avail.
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Hundreds of officers resumed the "Operation Lion Hunt"this morning, alongside professional hunters and vets with tranquilliser guns trying and track it down.
Terrified residents in the districts of Kleinmachnow, Teltow and Stahnsdorf were urged to "stay inside" amid fears the escaped lioness was prowling in the Nikolassee forest.
The alarm was first raised on Wednesday night when two people reported seeing a wild animal attacking a boar and filmed a video.
The footage was followed by another sighting by two cops leading police to speculate the animal was a lioness.
"Around midnight, witnesses saw a predator tearing down a wild boar," police spokesman Daniel Kiep told Bild, adding that wild boars are common in the area.
"We also got video material about it. It is therefore a lioness. There is currently no reason for us to doubt its authenticity."
Multiple reports of sightings sparked a huge search operation with hunters with tranquilliser guns, drones and thermal cameras.
A 15-ton special task force armoured vehicle known as "Survivor" also entered the hunt to assist the helicopters and drones.
More than 100 police officers were frantically looking for the animal but no trace of it was found.
German authorities were baffled by the sightings as no local zoo, circus or wildlife sanctuary had reported a creature missing.
Earlier today the Brandenburg police said today's search efforts would be focused in the Wannsee-Düppel dog park.
Wildlife expert Derk Ehlert had earlier voiced doubt it was actually a lioness on the loose due to the absence of any trace of the beast since early Thursday.
"A lioness doesn't just disappear into thin air," he told public radio.
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Ehlert and other specialists also noted the relatively short tail of the creature in the video, as well as its big ears.
"I've never seen a lion with jug ears," circus owner Michel Rogall told local media.
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