Lion wanders streets of Italian town after escaping from circus

13-11-2023 01:11 PM

Ammon News - A lion prowled the streets of an Italian seaside town for several hours after escaping from a local circus, prompting campaigners to call for Italy to ban wild animals in entertainment.

Alessandro Grando, the mayor of Ladispoli, near Rome, had told residents to stay at home on Saturday while police and circus staff sought to catch the animal, which was eventually sedated and captured.

Videos later published in Italian media, apparently taken by locals and not authenticated by the Guardian, showed the adult lion walking through dark and deserted streets.

But Rony Vassallo, who is responsible for the animals in the Rony Roller Circus, said that while the thought of confronting a lion would make most people fearful, eight-year-old Kimba posed little danger.

In a Facebook post at about 10.30pm (2130 GMT), more than five hours after his message raising the alarm, Grando said the lion had been “sedated and captured”. “Now he will be taken in hand by the circus staff,” he wrote, thanking emergency services and volunteers who helped during “these hours of great concern”.

More than 20 European countries have banned or heavily restricted the use of animals in circuses, but Italy is not yet among them.

What happened in Ladispoli “highlights the dangers of circuses with animals from the point of view of public security”, said the animal rights group OIPA. But it also highlighted “the discomfort of poor creatures forced into captivity for entertainment”.

The Guardian

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