Residents of Ladispoli, a coastal town in Italy, experienced hours of alarm and disbelief as a lion, escaped from a local circus, roamed freely through their streets.
The incident, which took place on Saturday, caused considerable unrest in the town, home to about 40,000 people and located northwest of the capital city, Rome.
Alessandro Grando, the mayor of Ladispoli, issued urgent warnings to the townspeople, urging them to exercise extreme caution.
He informed residents through a Facebook post that a lion had escaped from a circus on Viale Mediterraneo and that circus staff, with the assistance of the police, were conducting operations to capture the animal.
He advised residents to avoid unnecessary travel until further notice.
The lion's escapade through Ladispoli was captured on camera by several local residents, including Italian journalist Michele Galvani, who shared a video of the lion strolling down the town's streets.
By early Sunday morning, this footage had garnered nearly one million views on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
Most of Ladispoli's inhabitants chose to stay indoors during the incident, while others remained trapped in their cars, deeming it unsafe to venture outside with a lion on the loose.
The lion was also spotted moving around in a reed forest outside the town.
According to local media outlet Roma Today, the lion escaped around 4:00 PM local time and was only captured later in the evening.
See the lion running wild around town here: