Two lions, two tigers and a jaguar were thought to have escaped their enclosures Friday at a zoo in western Germany, 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.
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 in Luenebach, near Germany's borders with Luxembourg and Belgium.
The bear escaped from the 30-hectare (75-acre) zoo grounds into the rolling hills of the Eifel region and was shot.
Western Germany has seen several strong storms in recent days, causing flash floods.
Owned by the Wallpott family, the zoo located close to the border with Luxembourg is home to around 400 animals, including a Siberian tiger and lions.
Friday's false alarm came two years after a real zoo escape in eastern Germany, when two lions broke out of their cages at the Leipzig zoo.
One of the lions was shot dead while the other was eventually brought back into captivity.
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