Lion on the loose near Rome after escaping from the circus
In a dramatic seven-hour ordeal, authorities in Ladispoli, Italy, launched a massive operation involving Carabinieri, municipal police, regular police, and financial police to capture a lion on the loose.
Three veterinarians armed with rifles loaded with tranquilliser darts also joined the effort. The pursuit began around 3pm in a cane thicket between Viale Mediterraneo and Via Nicosia, not far from the Rony Roller circus, where the big cat named Kimba had escaped its cage.
However, the animal managed to evade capture, darting away just when it seemed caught, and proceeded to reach residential areas, causing panic among residents who sought refuge indoors.
In a surreal scene, the groggy and limping beast roamed among the houses, continuously eluding the veterinarians while under surveillance by the Carabinieri.
At around 8.30pm, the lion disappeared once again, retreating into the thicket. It was finally captured at 10pm.
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Earlier in the day, Mayor Alessandro Grando issued a warning message, saying: “A lion has escaped from the circus located in Viale Mediterraneo. The animal has been immediately located in the adjacent watercourse. Circus personnel are undertaking capture operations with the support of law enforcement, which promptly intervened at the scene. Please exercise utmost caution and avoid travel until further notice.”
The lion was initially spotted near the circus tent, along the course of the Sanguinara stream, which borders the area where the circus was set up. The animal had become stuck in the marsh and struggled to ascend.
Despite moments of panic in the coastal town, the situation was eventually under control.
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Blockades were set up, and a police helicopter from Pratica di Mare took to the air. Ongoing investigations aim to determine if the lion is cared for in compliance with animal protection regulations if ownership documents are in order, and if the circus, specifically Rony Roller with Stefano Orfei, has followed adequate safety measures to prevent such “escapes”.
Initially, on the verge of capture, the lion managed to escape again, reaching the nearest residences, continuously monitored by Carabinieri patrols. Concerned residents posted videos from their homes, fearing potential harm, although the military maintained visual contact with the animal, which continued to stroll among the houses even after sunset.
There were no reported dangers to people, as the animal appeared disoriented and limping. Carabinieri awaited the arrival of a specialised veterinarian from Rome, equipped to tranquillise the lion with a sedative dart.
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