Two lions were shot with a tranquilliser gun and sedated on Sunday at Singapore's Changi Airport after they got out of their freight container, triggering a mild scare in the vicinity, a media report said.
The lions, currently recovering from sedation under the care of the Mandai Wildlife Group, were being transported in the container to an overseas facility, The Straits Times reported.
It is not clear where the cats came from or where they were headed but the two were part of the seven lions in the shipment being handled by Singapore Airlines (SIA), the Singapore daily said.
One of the lions was reportedly lying atop its cage at one point of the time during its freedom.
The lions, however, were within the safety netting installed around the container the whole time, SIA told The Straits Times.
There was no disruption to the airline's operations.
"While the incident is being investigated, the immediate priority is the lions' well-being. SIA is working with Mandai Wildlife Group, which operates Singapore's only wildlife facility that is equipped to look after large carnivores, on this," said SIA, which had called in the group's veterinary and carnivore care terms for help.
A Mandai Wildlife Group spokesman said the lions needed to be sedated so that they could be transported to its animal quarantine facility in Mandai.
"The lions are being monitored. They will remain in our care for the time being and we remain in close contact with SIA on the matter."
This is not the first time an animal has found itself surprisingly free from its enclosure.
In 2005, a jaguar named Angel escaped through a small hole used by zookeepers to throw meat into the enclosure, leading to the evacuation of about 500 visitors from the zoo.
Angel was recaptured half an hour later.
In 2019, a bull from a Lim Chu Kang farm escaped from its premises and remained on the run after more than 14 hours.
Last year, a muscular white horse was found trotting next to cars at a traffic junction in Eng Neo Avenue.
Named Cocorita, it had escaped from Paisano Polo Academy in Turf Club Road and was taken back to its home after 20 minutes, according to The Straits Times report.