Sunday, 01. February 2015
23. 05. 14. - 16:00
Russian officials are investigating how a lion cub was allowed to go on the rampage on board a train after apparently being registered in the passenger's luggage as a domestic cat.
The female lion, which was apparently around nine-months-old and weighed 80 kilos, had been inside a special transport cage when she was loaded onto the train in the Urals in western Russia.
The woman who was transporting the lioness, Lyudmila Kosovskaya, 24, apparently lost control of the animal when she open the cage to try and feed it.
It then escaped into the other carriages and because it was not wearing a muzzle and was regarded as dangerous, it was shot with a tranquilliser gun and later died, probably because the police got the dosage wrong.
A police spokesman said: "We are trying to work out how it was ever allowed aboard registered as a domestic cat, and where it came from in the first place."
Police in Yekaterinburg, a city 1400 km east of Moscow that the train was travelling through, said: "The lion cub had first been kept in a cage but then the woman accompanying it for some reason let the animal out.
"When the animal, which was being transported without a muzzle, started behaving wildly, the woman couldn't control it. She shut it in her sleeper car and asked the train staff for help."
The 'dishevelled' woman who had several scratches wanted the carriage conductor to leave the animal shut in the compartment, but the train supervisor became disturbed by the animal's growl from behind the door.
He alerted police at Yekaterinburg station and police were awaiting the train's arrival with veterinarians and local circus staff.
The owner meanwhile fled the train and is now being sought by police.
Witnesses said the lioness - worth an estimated 40,000 GBP - was carried alive from the train after being drugged, and it was later landed over to animal expert Mikhail Shutov, who said he wanted to keep the lioness and find a home for the creature in a zoo or circus.
He said: "I put her in the garage, but by the morning she was dead. I believe that she died because she was drugged. They could have just pulled her out of the train - and without these measures. I don't know why was it necessary to inject her, she was still a baby really."
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