A lion that escaped from a zoo in the Georgian capital during freak floods at the weekend killed a man in the city centre on Wednesday, an interior ministry spokeswoman said.

“A lion from the Tbilisi zoo killed a man” near the capital’s central square, the spokeswoman told AFP. “Police special forces were deployed and are hunting down the animal.”

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Georgian media said the lion had been hiding in a warehouse and escaped the citywide police search for the escaped animals, many of which were shot dead.

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Floods hit Tbilisi on Sunday, killing at least 17 people and ravaging the city’s central districts including the zoo, where hundreds of animals — including lions, tigers, wolves and a hippo escaped.

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Over half of the animals — some 300 species — either drowned in the muddy waters or were killed by police.