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Lion-Hunting in Birmingham.

The London Times of October 4 says : — The eastern suburb of Birmingham was on Friday the scene of a protracted and exciting lion hunt, which resulted happily without serious casualty in the recapture of the runaway animal. In connexion with the local celebration of the Michaelmas fair, Messrs Woinbwell had established their well-known menagerie on a piece of waste ground known as the Old Peck at Aston, where the caravans were drawn up in a hollow square. One of the cages contained a young black - maned Nubian lion about four years old, which arrived in Birmingham from Liverpool only that morning about mid-day. The keeper entered the den to clean it, and whilst engaged in this duty his attention was momentarily diverted by a tight between an ostricli and a deor. When he looked round he found the cage empty, the lion apparently having slipped out through an opening in the side of the den caused by the displacement of a moveable wooden shutter. The fastening of the latter, it j seems, had been withdrawn by an elephant in the adjoining den. The lion, having passed unobserved under the caravans, presently found itself on the fair ground. At first the animal seemed quite bewildered with the noise of the people, the blare of the steam trumpets, tho clashing of the cymbals, and the bellowing of the organs, and it remained for some time rooted to the spot. The people were too busy to observe it until the alarm was given by Wombwell's men, who hurried to the spot armed with ropes and iron bars, when a scene of wild confusion ensued. Men, women, and children scampered of in all directions as the lion dashed across the ground hotly pursued by the men from Wombwell's. A group of children were in its path, but it cleared them at a bound find made straight for the neighboring brook. After wading tin the stream for about 00 yards the panic-stricken animal, seeing its pursuers close at hand, appears to have crept into an open sewer, where it temporarily disappeared from view. The drains to the right of the brook had been explored for several hundred yards in every direction without any success, when Marcus Orenzo,the chief lion tamer, heard the fugitive lion roar. He traced the sound with difficulty to the channel leading from the manhole at the junction ot the road to the outlet in the brook where the lion first entered, and he at once arranged to crawl through the drain in pursuit of the beast. A transfer cage was obtained and taken to the brook, when the drop door was lifted and the mouth of the cage placed against the opening of the drain. By this time Orenzo had changed his clothes, and armed with a heavy revolver and accompanied by a boarhound he descended

through the manhole into the sewer. Twice in quick succession revolver shots echoed through the underground passages and to the during explorer the animal's roar showed that he was on the right track. Crawling along, Orcnzo at length caught sight of the animal, which at first turned to bay, but quickly fled at the discharge of tho revolver and made towards tin; cage at the other end of the sewer. The lion tumor crawled after it with all haste, and the faithful boarhound kept close at hand. When the mouth of the cage came in view the dog was sent to the front, and at the word of command gave vent to a deafening bark ; almost simultaneously there was a scrambling noise in the underground channels, and in another instant the lion bounded into the trap set for him and was promptly caged and carted back to the menagerie.

A second lion escaped at the same time, but it was thought advisable not to let the public know of it. The animal was trapped on Sunday, two days after the escape, in a sewer, after an exciting and dangerous hunt.

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Bibliographic details

Lion-Hunting in Birmingham., Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XVI, Issue 5625, 21 November 1889

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Lion-Hunting in Birmingham. Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XVI, Issue 5625, 21 November 1889

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