Police in Essex, England have just called off their lion hunt. Authorities spent about 24 hours combing the area after several residents claimed to have seen a large lion on the loose. They found no trace of a lion and the whole thing is believed to be a combination of a misunderstanding and a hoax.
Bob Martin and his wife Denise claimed to have seen a lion on Sunday evening. “Lion was the first thing that came into mind,” Martin said. “But, it was several hundred yards away… it was very impressive.”
There was even a photo allegedly taken by a local resident, which appeared to show a fully-grown lion standing at the side of the road:
Unfortunately (for those of us who are entertained by the idea of police hunting for a lion in an urban setting) and fortunately (for those who live in the area where the lion is purported to be), the photo above turned out to be a fake. This is the lion that was Photoshopped in:
Police believe that the cat the Martins saw was likely a large housecat or perhaps a wildcat. Either way, it doesn’t appear to pose any threat to the local residents.