Tiger hunt launched near Paris after big cat spotted in car park

Specialists says paw prints found in the countryside are those of a young tiger weighing around 70kg

Photograph posted on the Ville de Montevrain Facebook page purporting to show the tiger
(Image credit: Ville de Montevrain Facebook)

A large-scale hunt has been launched after a big cat, believed to be a tiger, was spotted in a supermarket car park outside Paris.

Fire officials, search dogs, the gendarmerie, a helicopter with a thermal detector and police armed with tranquiliser guns have been combing countryside outside the town of Montevrain, east of the French capital.

Residents of Montevrain and two other towns were told to stay indoors after the cat was spotted yesterday morning, while children were kept in schools and collected by their parents by car, reports the BBC. The search was called off overnight and resumed again this morning.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Jean-Baptiste Berdeaux, manager of the Intermarche supermarket, said his wife had seen the big cat in their car park. "She didn't get out of the car and called me to say 'I think I saw a lynx,'" he said.

Le Parisien says tiger paw prints were found near a petrol station on the A4 autoroute outside Paris.

Specialists said the animal's tracks were those of a young tiger, likely to weigh around 70kg (154lbs).

Authorities have been able to trace it to a woodland area by following its prints and hope to catch it alive. A security cordon covering an area about the size of four or five football pitches has been set up around the woodlands.

"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," said the police.

It was unclear where the animal came from, though there is a big cat wildlife park near Montevrain and a circus recently passed through the town. However, no missing tiger has been reported.

Disneyland Paris, which is located nearby, told the BBC that it kept no tigers.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.