The chances of sharing the sidewalk with a Bengal tiger are next to none on any given day.
But during the early morning hours in Monreale, Palermo, in Sicily Italy, that is exactly what happened when, Oscar, escaped from a traveling circus to casually roam the town of 38,000 residents.
Alerted by motorists who had spotted the tiger, heavily armed police officers and emergency responders, including circus trainers, were tasked with recapturing the wild animal which, at one point, sprawled out on the ground outside a kitchen shop.
While most people took refuge inside shops and cafés that lined Oscar’s path, some residents were spotted on the balconies of their flats taking selfies with the tiger in the background.
Video footage also captured the big cat calmly pacing in a car lot as he watched, through a fence, the crowd of spectators that had gathered at the scene.
Traffic was reportedly blocked for several hours as authorities worked to contain the situation and keep everyone safe.
Fortunately, tranquilizer darts, though considered, were not needed to recapture the tiger, who was persuaded into a cage and sadly returned to the circus.
Monreale Mayor Piero Capizzi said he believed it was a joke when he was informed about the wandering wildlife. Once realizing it was in fact happening he advised the media that as of now it is not known how Oscar managed to escape from the circus.
Police are reported to be investigating the incident.
Found mainly in India and Bangladesh, Bengal tigers are an endangered species with risk of extinction with as little as only 1,500 remaining in the wild. The Bangal Tiger was listed as such on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list of threatened species in 2010.
The IUCN was founded in 1964 and remains the world’s leading authority on the conservation status of biological species.
You can help by not buying a ticket to the circus or supporting any wild animal shows or acts. Please contribute to organizations around the world working to protect the last wild tigers from extinction.
They Were Born Free, Let Them Live Free!
Source: Daily Mail
Video Credit: RUPTLY