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Five big cats briefly escape in flooded German zoo

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    Agence France-Presse

Berlin | Sat, June 2, 2018 | 09:22 am
Five big cats briefly escape in flooded German zoo A jaguar cub (Panthera onca) is pictured at the 'Reino Animal' zoo in Teotihuacan, Mexico state, on April 27, 2018. Two jaguars were born in captivity last March 19, from a couple delivered to the zoo two years ago by the Mexican environmental prosecutor who rescued them from an inadequate environment. (AFP/Pedro Pardo)

Five dangerous big cats -- two lions, two tigers and a jaguar -- escaped their enclosures in a flooded German zoo Friday for several hours but were later reported back "in their cages".

Local residents near the zoo close to the Luxembourg border were warned to stay indoors while the predators were on the loose.

A bear, which also broke out of its enclosure at the Eifel Zoo in Luenebach, was shot dead, a spokesman for local authorities said.

Officials were verifying if the fences and cages are secure, said the spokesman.

Overnight heavy thunderstorms had sparked flash floods in the area and completely flooded the private zoo, which is located on a riverbank.

The high waters had damaged the cages, allowing the animals to go on the run.

Local newspaper Trier Volksfreund said the cats were still within the sprawling 30-hectare grounds of the zoo when they were finally located by a drone.

While emergency services including firefighters and police were deployed to hunt down the predators, inhabitants of the town were told to stay indoors and to keep their windows and doors closed.

Many residents were Friday busy clearing muddy water from their cellars and removing trees downed by the severe storm. Part of a local motorway had also been blocked off due to high waters.

Owned by the Wallpott family, the zoo is home to around 400 animals, also including a Siberian tiger.

Friday's escape came two years after a similar case in eastern Germany, when two lions broke out of their cages at the Leipzig zoo.

One of the lions was shot dead while the other was eventually brought back into captivity.

In 2015, an orangutan was shot dead after escaping from the Duisburg zoo, and a bear escapee from Osnabrueck suffered the same fate in 2017.

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