A newspaper has claimed that one lion and two bears abandoned by a traveling circus have gone missing, causing alert in Istanbul. Habertürk daily said in a news article that a lion and a bear were found in the parking lot of a shopping mall in Istanbul's Esenyurt district after locals called in police for the two animals "in bad condition."
The wild animals were reportedly left behind by the circus set up in the parking lot a few months ago. Authorities transferred two animals to a wild animal rehabilitation center in the city of Bursa but found out that one lion and two bears employed by the circus had also gone missing. Habertürk said the animals might have died due to maltreatment.
Although the spotting of a lion or bear is rare in Istanbul, the city is no stranger to wildlife. Last year, wild boars, hailing from forested areas in the city's north, emerged on several occasions on the shores of the Bosporus to the surprise of locals. The animals caused a rampage before disappearing. It is estimated that the construction boom near forested areas drove the boars to the inner parts of the city to seek food.