Escaped Circus Lion Sparks Panic in Italian Seaside Town, Prompts Calls for Circus Reform

A seaside town near Rome, Ladispoli, was thrown into chaos as an escaped lion from the Rony Roller circus roamed its streets, causing residents to seek refuge indoors. The massive adult male lion, identified as Kimba, triggered a widespread alert on Saturday, with the town’s approximately 40,000 residents urged to stay inside while authorities worked to contain the situation.

Ladispoli’s mayor, Alessandro Grando, utilized social media, specifically Facebook, to communicate with the public and provide updates on the unfolding situation. In his posts, he confirmed the escape, warned residents to remain indoors, and informed them that the lion had been traced to an adjacent water course.

Residents captured and shared footage of the escaped lion prowling the streets, heightening the sense of urgency in the town. One video, filmed from a trapped car, offered a close encounter with the roaming feline.

Local authorities, including circus staff, law enforcement officers, and three veterinarians armed with sedative-loaded rifles, undertook a seven-hour operation to capture Kimba. The lion proved to be elusive, escaping two initial capture attempts before finally being subdued.

In a subsequent Facebook post, Mayor Grando announced that the lion had been successfully sedated and recaptured, returning him to the custody of circus staff. However, Grando took the opportunity to express his dissatisfaction with the presence of circuses featuring animals in Ladispoli, raising questions about animal exploitation.

“For those who will start asking: why do you still bring the circus with animals to Ladispoli? Why did the mayor authorize the circus?” he questioned. “I hope this episode can raise some conscience, and that we can finally put an end to animal exploitation in circuses.”

Local media reported ongoing investigations to ensure Kimba’s proper care, verify the legality of his ownership documents, and assess whether safety measures to prevent escapes were adequately implemented. The incident has reignited discussions about the use of animals in circuses and the need for reform to safeguard both public safety and animal welfare.

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