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Last Updated: Monday, 1 March, 2004, 19:43 GMT
Dhaka in panic as lioness escapes
A lioness
Locals retreated to their homes as news of lioness' escape emerged
Residents in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka have had a narrow escape after a lioness fled the city's zoo and began roaming freely.

Nine-year-old Manoshi escaped her cage on Monday morning and zookeepers only realised when they arrived at her cage to serve her breakfast.

Panic spread among the city's residents when they were informed of the escape and told to be on guard.

But police were finally able to sedate the lioness and return her to the zoo.

'So scared'

Manoshi was born in captivity and brought up in the Dhaka National Zoo, located near the Mirpur residential district of the city, which holds about a dozen lions.

The lion was [roaring] as thousands of people gathered at the place to feel the real life excitement
Local police officer
It is thought she clawed her way out of a hole in her rusty cage and then slipped through a gap in the zoo's boundary wall.

"We heard roars and collected our kids and stayed inside," a local villager told French news agency AFP.

"We were so scared."

Fortunately, she was found barely hours after her escape in a bush just outside the wall.

Police were then called to help the zookeepers catch the animal.

Local excitement

Officer Mahbubul Alam led a five-member police team in the operation.

"We went there to see that the animal has taken shelter in a bush and the zookeepers were trying to block it from coming out," he told the BBC.

"The lion was [roaring] as thousands of people gathered at the place to feel the real life excitement."

He said police were asked by authorities to open fire on the lioness if the zookeepers failed to tame it.

But, finally, the keepers managed to tranquilise Manoshi by using two darts and took her to the zoo hospital.

Senior zoo officials have now launched an investigation into how the lioness escaped from the cage.

Lions are not indigenous to Bangladesh, home of the famous Bengal tigers.

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