city of columbus

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Paws at the traffic lights! Giant male lion is seen prowling around the streets of South Africa’s biggest city (but it’s not as dangerous as you’d think)

This is the moment a giant male lion was spotted strolling down the streets of South Africa’s biggest city in the middle of the night.  

The big cat was seen prowling around a residential area in Johannesburg and at one point clambered up to rest its front legs on the back of a car. But residents were later reassured that the lion, called Columbus, was not on the loose - and had been brought in by a production crew for filming.

Columbus had been borrowed from a nearby lion park and the area was fenced off while the animal, which has starred in a number of films and advertising campaigns, is tame.  

However, a row broke out after it emerged that the local film company had failed to notify authorities about the stunt.

According to the Johannesburg Roads Agency, the filming had not been cleared and the film company had not gained permission to close several roads.    

The JRA was contacted to find out if a movie, starring a fully-grown lion, was being filmed in the city and whether producers were given clearance by the company to close off roads in the area.  

According to the lion park, it is not the first time that Columbus has courted the limelight and has previously appeared in a film named Blended and also numerous adverts.

Irvaan Dolley, from Ibiza, Spain, who witnessed the lion walk past, said: ‘It was a strange sight to see the lion strolling throught the city like that and my first thought was to run. But it swiftly turned out that the situation was under control and we weren’t in any danger, despite the lion being so close by.“ 

'The lion was actually part of a film production taking place Johannesburg City Centre. So it wasn’t roaming around freely as expected on social media.’  

Zanta Myeza, from the JRA, said: 'We sit down with the JOC to get all the people who are involved into the same room - including the police department - to see if we all agree on something like that taking place. 'The people who were there were taking chances.’

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