ROME — A lion prowled the streets of an Italian seaside town for several hours on Saturday after escaping from a local circus before it was caught and sedated.
Alessandro Grando, mayor of Ladispoli, near Rome, had warned residents to stay at home while police and circus staff sought to catch the animal.
Videos later published by Italian media, apparently taken by locals but not confirmed by Agence France-Presse (AFP), showed the adult lion walking through dark and deserted streets.
In a Facebook post on Saturday night, more than five hours after his original 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.”
“I hope that this episode can stir some consciences and that we can finally put an end to the exploitation of animals in circuses,” the mayor added.
Anticipating residents’ complaints, he said earlier that he had not authorized the presence of a circus with lions, but added that he did not have the power to block it.