Can Essex Lion Escape Media Circus?

A lion, with 24,000 followers on twitter, is reportedly on the loose in the county of Essex to the east of London. With police marksmen and helicopters hunting for the large cat in the Clacton area of Essex, local residents have been warned to stay inside until the animal is caught.

African Male Lion
Photo: Manoj Shah | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images
African Male Lion

One witness told the Daily Mail newspaper that the reports are definitely not false. “A man started running towards us yelling "It’s a ******* lion!" He looked so panicked you knew it was not a joke. The lion you could see it from the side.”

The van driver from Romford in Essex told the paper he grabbed his children and ran.

“'It was one million percent a lion. It was a tan color with a big mane, it was fully grown, it was definitely a lion. It was just standing there, it seemed to be enjoying itself.”

There is speculation the lion could have been updating its twitter page, @essexlion which currently has 24,000 followers, but witnesses on the ground could not confirm if this was the case.

One local resident told Sky News that the lion could have run away from a circus which came to Clacton last week.

"There was a circus in Clacton about a week ago so some people are saying it has come from there, some are saying it has come from a zoo, but no one knows,” said the witness.

"It's not the thing you expect to hear — that there's a lion prowling around."

If the Lion has managed to escape from the ring, it is by no means sure whether it can escape from a different type of circus — the media one. With reporters from Sky News, the BBC, ITN, Anglia News and even NBC’s Today Show all expected to be in hot pursuit, the big cat could find escaping the media circus even harder than escaping the zoo.

CNBC has been unable to independently verify whether there is actually a lion, with a twitter account, on the loose.