An escaped circus lion terrorized an Italian town for hours before finally being sedated and captured.
State and local police officers, in addition to the Carabinieri, descended on the town of Ladispoli, a suburb 28 miles west of Rome, in an attempt to corral a circus lion who had escaped captivity and wandered the streets of the busy town for “hours,” according to a report from NBC News.
Cameras captured footage of the lion, named Kimba, strolling the town, calmly walking through residential areas and acting seemingly unbothered by the presence of police on his tail.
Despite the scare for local residents, an animal handler with the Rony Roller Circus told AFP News that the lion, which is 8-years-old, was not a threat to people in the town.
“He met with people in an environment he wasn’t used to… and nothing happened, he didn’t even for a second have the instinct to attack a person,” the handler, Rony Vassallo, said.
According to the NBC News report, the practice of having live circus animals is banned in over 20 European countries. Italy is not one of those countries, though a bill that would ban the practice has passed the lower chamber of the country’s parliament.
Nevertheless, the scare caused Ladispoli Mayor Alessandro Grando to advocate in favor of such a ban.
“I hope this episode can raise some conscience, and that we can finally put an end to animal exploitation in circuses,” the mayor said, according to NBC News.