French authorities say wild cat on the prowl is not a tiger

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French authorities say wild cat on the prowl is not a tiger
French gendarmes take part on November 14, 2014 in the ongoing search for what was first described as a tiger on the loose, in the woods of Ferrieres-en-Brie, on the outskirts of Paris. French authorities searching for a mysterious big cat spotted prowling around a town on the outskirts of Paris revealed on November 14 it was unlikely to be a tiger as initially suspected. After examining tracks, experts from the national hunting and wildlife office and a nearby big cat park said: 'We can exclude the presence of an animal from the tiger species.' They added though that 'the feline is still being hunted'. AFP PHOTO /THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
French gendarmes take part on November 14, 2014 in the ongoing search for what was first described as a tiger on the loose, in the woods of Ferrieres-en-Brie, on the outskirts of Paris. French authorities searching for a mysterious big cat spotted prowling around a town on the outskirts of Paris revealed on November 14 it was unlikely to be a tiger as initially suspected. After examining tracks, experts from the national hunting and wildlife office and a nearby big cat park said: 'We can exclude the presence of an animal from the tiger species.' They added though that 'the feline is still being hunted'. AFP PHOTO /THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
French gendarmes take part on November 14, 2014 in the ongoing search for what was first described as a tiger on the loose, in the woods of Ferrieres-en-Brie, on the outskirts of Paris. French authorities said on November 14 that a large animal roaming around a town on the outskirts of Paris was likely not a tiger but a different species of big cat. 'After an investigation carried out by the National Hunting and Wildlife Office in conjunction with the Parc des Felins (a nearby wildlife park), we can exclude the presence of an animal from the tiger species. The feline... is still being hunted,' said authorities. AFP PHOTO /THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
French gendarmes take part on November 14, 2014 in the ongoing search for what was first described as a tiger on the loose, in the woods of Ferrieres-en-Brie, on the outskirts of Paris. French authorities searching for a mysterious big cat spotted prowling around a town on the outskirts of Paris revealed on November 14 it was unlikely to be a tiger as initially suspected. After examining tracks, experts from the national hunting and wildlife office and a nearby big cat park said: 'We can exclude the presence of an animal from the tiger species.' They added though that 'the feline is still being hunted'. AFP PHOTO /THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the National Hunting and Wildlife Office and French genadrmes take part on November 14, 2014 in the ongoing search for what was first described as a tiger on the loose, in the woods of Ferrieres-en-Brie, on the outskirts of Paris. French authorities said on November 14 that a large animal roaming around a town on the outskirts of Paris was likely not a tiger but a different species of big cat. 'After an investigation carried out by the National Hunting and Wildlife Office in conjunction with the Parc des Felins (a nearby wildlife park), we can exclude the presence of an animal from the tiger species. The feline... is still being hunted,' said authorities. AFP PHOTO /THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Soldiers patrol near woods in Ferrieres-en-Brie, east of Paris, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. A reported tiger on the loose near Disneyland Paris apparently crossed a major highway and slinked past a gas station Friday, still eluding the 200 French police and military forces trying to hunt it down. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Police officers gather in Villeneuve Saint-Denis, east of Paris, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. A reported tiger on the loose near Disneyland Paris apparently crossed a major highway and slinked past a gas station Friday, still eluding the 200 French police and military forces trying to hunt it down. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Police officers stand next to a school in Montevrain, east of Paris, Friday Nov. 14, 2014. Scores of police patrolled a small town west of the French capital on Thursday night after a tiger eluded a massive search and remained on the prowl in the region near Disneyland Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Police officers, right, and members of the animal police brigade gather in Ferrieres-en-Brie, east of Paris, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. A reported tiger on the loose near Disneyland Paris apparently crossed a major highway and slinked past a gas station Friday, still eluding the 200 French police and military forces trying to hunt it down. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
A paw print is seen in Ferrieres-en-Brie, east of Paris, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. A reported tiger on the loose near Disneyland Paris apparently crossed a major highway and slinked past a gas station Friday, still eluding the 200 French police and military forces trying to hunt it down. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Soldiers patrol near woods in Ferrieres-en-Brie, east of Paris, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. A reported tiger on the loose near Disneyland Paris apparently crossed a major highway and slinked past a gas station Friday, still eluding the 200 French police and military forces trying to hunt it down. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Police officers stand next to a school in Montevrain, east of Paris, Friday Nov. 14, 2014. Scores of police patrolled a small town west of the French capital on Thursday night after a tiger eluded a massive search and remained on the prowl in the region near Disneyland Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
A member of the police animal brigade walks through a wood in Montevrain, east of Paris, Thursday Nov. 13, 2014. French authorities say a young tiger is on the loose near Disneyland Paris, one of Europe's top tourist destinations, and have urged residents in three towns to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Police officers patrol in Villeneuve Saint-Denis, east of Paris, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. A reported tiger on the loose near Disneyland Paris apparently crossed a major highway and slinked past a gas station Friday, still eluding the 200 French police and military forces trying to hunt it down. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Members of the police animal brigade walk through a wood close to Montevrain, east of Paris, Thursday Nov. 13, 2014. French authorities say a young tiger is on the loose near Disneyland Paris, one of Europe's top tourist destinations, and have urged residents in three towns to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Members of the police stand after a beat next to a wood in Montevrain, east of Paris, Thursday Nov. 13, 2014. French authorities say a young tiger is on the loose near Disneyland Paris, one of Europe's top tourist destinations, and have urged residents in three towns to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Members of the police animal brigade walk through the streets of Montevrain, east of Paris, Thursday Nov. 13, 2014. French authorities say a young tiger is on the loose near Disneyland Paris, one of Europe's top tourist destinations, and have urged residents in three towns to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Members of the police animal brigade walk through the streets of Montevrain, east of Paris, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. French authorities say a young tiger is on the loose near Disneyland Paris, one of Europe's top tourist destinations, and have urged residents in three towns to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Members of the police animal brigade walk through a wood in Montevrain, east of Paris, Thursday Nov. 13, 2014. French authorities say a young tiger is on the loose near Disneyland Paris, one of Europe's top tourist destinations, and have urged residents in three towns to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Police officers gather in Villeneuve Saint-Denis, east of Paris, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. A reported tiger on the loose near Disneyland Paris apparently crossed a major highway and slinked past a gas station Friday, still eluding the 200 French police and military forces trying to hunt it down. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
The paw print of what is described as a tiger by a member of the police animal brigade is pictured in Montevrain, east of Paris, Thursday, Nov.13, 2014. French authorities say a young tiger is on the loose near Disneyland Paris, one of Europe's top tourist destinations, and have urged residents in three towns to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Tiger on the loose outside Paris, France.; 1c x 3 inches; 46.5 mm x 76 mm;
Members of the police animal brigade walk through the streets of Montevrain, east of Paris, Thursday Nov. 13, 2014. French authorities say a young tiger is on the loose near Disneyland Paris, one of Europe's top tourist destinations, and have urged residents in three towns to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Members of the police animal brigade walk through the streets of Montevrain, east of Paris, Thursday Nov. 13, 2014. French authorities say a young tiger is on the loose near Disneyland Paris, one of Europe's top tourist destinations, and have urged residents in three towns to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Members of the police animal brigade walk through the streets of Montevrain, east of Paris, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. French authorities say a young tiger is on the loose near Disneyland Paris, one of Europe's top tourist destinations, and have urged residents in three towns to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
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MONTEVRAIN, France (AP) -- A two-day search by police and military forces for a wild animal roaming through French towns has come to one conclusion: it isn't a tiger.

One theory is that it could be a lynx, an extinct cat that was reintroduced to France in the 1970s.

But the public and Disneyland Paris, the main tourist attraction in the area, didn't seem too concerned on Friday by what officials were calling a security threat.

In fact, if the search doesn't capture the animal soon, locals could begin seeing it less as an invader and more like a harmless Pepé Le Pew, the French skunk.

Officials who had identified the cat spotted near a grocery store in a Paris suburb on Thursday morning as a panther tigris are now ruling that out.

The wild cat caught in several fuzzy photographs in the town of Montevrain was spotted again on Friday, but it has eluded 200 police and military forces.

Residents of Montevrain and two other nearby towns were urged to stay indoors - but most people seemed to be taking the cat hunt in stride.

One official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said "It's definitely not typical of the animals of this region."

One theory is that the mystery cat could be a lynx - the wild cat once omnipresent in France before being hunted out of existence. It was reintroduced in the 1970s, according to wildlife conservation group Ferus.

A 2003 survey by the National Office for Hunting and Wildlife estimated France's lynx population at about 170, located in mountainous areas of eastern France and the Alps. But the nearest known habitat, the Vosges Mountains, is 350 kilometers (215 miles) away from where the creature was spotted Thursday.

In a statement Friday afternoon, the regional administration near the search site said experts have concluded that the wandering animal isn't a tiger, but a feline of an unknown species.

France's national hunting office could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, some 200 police, military officers and others were still searching for the animal Friday.

A helicopter buzzed over woods east of Paris, and a dozen police vehicles lined a grassy area where the feline had been spotted earlier in the day.

"He was also seen by truck drivers on the road," said Christian Robache, the mayor of Montevrain. A Total gas station near the sighting was briefly closed.

Police officers guarded a school Friday morning as children arrived for class in the town.

The regional administration asked drivers to take "the greatest precautions" on the highway, a major artery between Paris and eastern France.

But the operator of the Disneyland Paris, which is surrounded by high walls, said it isn't taking special precautions because the animal isn't deemed a threat.

French tiger trainer Thierry Le Portier told BFM television that if the feline was raised by its mother it could be tough to catch. Raised by humans, it would be less distrustful but no less dangerous, he said.

"It can remain in hiding for a long time," he said, adding that it's "no problem" if the cat goes without eating for up to four days.

Large Feline on the Loose in Paris


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