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Escaped big cats scare at flood-hit German zoo

The Eifelzoo in Luenebach, western Germany
The Eifelzoo in Luenebach, western Germany
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A flood at a zoo in western Germany sparked fears that two lions, two tigers and a jaguar had escaped their enclosures, sparking a massive search by police and warnings to residents to stay indoors.

Hours later, authorities said those animals had, in fact, never left their cages at Eifel Zoo in Luenebach.

A bear, however, was shot dead after flooding triggered by heavy rains swept away the fencing for its enclosure, allowing it to escape.

Andreas Kruppert, the mayor of the town of Arzfeld, said the confusion arose because volunteers using a drone were unable to find the carnivores, prompting fears they had all escaped the zoo, near Germany's borders with Luxembourg and Belgium.

The bear was shot after escaping from the 30-hectare (75-acre) zoo grounds into the rolling hills of the Eifel region.

Western Germany has seen several strong storms in recent days, causing flash floods.