Tiger still on the loose near Paris

2014-11-14 08:12

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Montevrain - A tiger remained on the loose near Paris early on Friday after fire-fighters and police called off the search for the night following a fruitless all-day hunt, with worried residents told to stay indoors.

A local woman sounded the alarm the morning of the previous day after spotting the fearsome animal in a supermarket car park in the town of Montevrain, just a stone's throw from Disneyland Paris.

Several more people later came forward saying they had seen the tiger on the prowl.

Backed up by a helicopter, more than 100 police officers and fire-fighters armed with tranquilising guns had spent the day combing the area in the Seine-et-Marne district near the French capital, without success.

Authorities ordered residents to stay indoors and use cars to pick their children up from school.

Town hall official Cedric Tartaud-Gineste told AFP: "We are calling on residents to be careful, not to leave their homes and to stay in their vehicles."

"Anyone who sees the tiger should call the police or the fire service."

He said that a security cordon covering an area about the size of four or five football pitches had been set up around a wooded area near the small town of Montevrain, some 40km east of Paris.

Experts said there was little doubt that the animal on the loose was a tiger.

"There is no doubt, it's a tiger", Robert Picaud, the head of a local group responsible for regulating pests, and who took part in the search.

"The footprints are real and they were not made by a man. These prints and photos leave no room for doubt."

Police were also using thermal cameras in a bid to find the big cat, estimated to weigh around 70kg, according to the town's mayor Christian Robache.

A dog trained in tracking bears and large game was also brought in to help with the search effort.

As darkness fell, officials suspended the search until daybreak.

"The hunt will be suspended for the night until dawn. The helicopter equipped with a thermal camera will keep going," said a local police source.

'I think I saw a lynx'

Earlier Thursday, an AFP reporter saw around a dozen fire engines and police vehicles lined up near the supermarket where the tiger was first spotted.

"My wife saw it this morning", Jean-Baptiste Berdeaux, who manages the Intermarche supermarket, told AFP.

"She didn't get out of the car and called me to say 'I think I saw a lynx'", he said, adding she took a photo of the animal and the couple then alerted nearby police officers.

Some people playing tennis nearby also saw the animal sloping by.

Authorities said they were hoping to catch the tiger alive.

"If it's possible, we'll try and put it to sleep. If it becomes dangerous or aggressive, the order will be given to kill it", police said.

A police source said the animal's prints were found in the woodland.

It was as yet unclear where the animal came from.

Despite the town's proximity to Disneyland Paris, a source close to the investigation said there was no link to the theme park.

Authorities have also made enquiries at a big-cat wildlife park 30km away.

Suspicion initially fell on a circus that had set up its tent in the supermarket car park a few days ago, but the mayor said it "did not have a tiger".

A source close to the search operation said the hunt for any tiger would be made more difficult because if the big cat behaved in typical fashion, it would nap a lot, possibly spending hours unnoticed sleeping in a tree.

The Peta animal rights group called on authorities to "show restraint and compassion in dealing with this tiger on the loose".

"This situation, however upsetting, is entirely preventable and should serve as a wake-up call to the public about the perils of keeping wild animals in captivity", the group told AFP in a statement.

Read more on:    france  |  animals

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.