Rotorua's lions-on-the-loose story has grown legs since word of the 1986 epic escape resurfaced last week.

Former local man Kent Briggs is making a documentary about the day three lions managed to spring the lock on their Whirling Bros Circus performance cage and run amok on the Lakefront before being successfully rounded up and re-caged.

Since the initial story appeared in the Rotorua Daily Post last week, people who were a part of events that summer day have come forward to share their experiences.

"I'm uncovering twists and turns as the story unfolds," Briggs laughed. "One woman has made contact to tell us what she knows about Lucinda the poodle, the dog allegedly thrown into the lion's cage sometime before their performance.


"Apparently Lucy had pups not long before her untimely death."

An appeal for any knowledge of two young boys on BMX bikes who tried to round the lions up has also been successful with a local man emailing to let Briggs know the identity of the pair.

"According to local police, these two boys were absolute local legends who were fearless in their efforts to help get the lions back in their cages."

A number of comments were left on the Rotorua Daily Post Facebook page in response to the story.

"So many people who were at the circus or out and about around the lakefront that day have let us know," Briggs said.

As part of his investigation into the escape, Briggs and his brother spent close to three hours in the Rotorua Library researching and discovered several more articles from the day.

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"We learned a reward of $1000 was put up by the circus for information leading to the conviction of the people who allegedly threw the poodle to the lions.

"There was also talk this act was attributed to a bunch of kids hanging around at the time. I'm sure if they had bragged about what they had done at school or to friends, that $1000 would have been tempting."

Briggs is not sure if the group of youngsters had anything to do with the missing poodle but said it would be good to know whether the rumour could be substantiated.

"We also found out police were still considering laying charges days after the escape."

So far there has been no more photographs or footage of the lions running around the village green or hiding under the Queen Elizabeth building but the filmmaker hopes some can be found.

He is also keen to track down Michele Norton. Michele was the poodle's owner and was heroic during the lion escape.

"For anyone who has come forward and I have not made contact with, please be patient, I'm trying to do the documentary as well as work full time and help with my young family."

Briggs is trying to get funding for the documentary.