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Paris tiger: Major police operation launched to capture big cat


French authorities have resumed search for a tiger on the loose near Paris.

The big cat appears to have moved closer to Paris after fresh paw prints were found.

A huntsman confirmed animal prints at the Ferrieres-en-Brie service station 16 miles east of Paris at 06:45 AM, Le Parisien daily reports.

The young tiger was first spotted at Montevrain, 24 miles east of Paris, on Thursday morning.

To reach the service station, it apparently crossed the A4 motorway.

A reporter from Parisian radio station France Bleu 107.1 photographed the new prints.

Following their discovery, the Total service station at Ferrieres-en-Brie, on the A4, was shut down.

“It seems the beast crossed the A4,” Seine-et-Marne council leader Vincent Eble told France Bleu 107.1.

Following initial doubts about the nature of the stray beast, French officials and experts are categorical about it being an actual tiger, France’s AFP news agency reports.

A resident raised the alert after spotting the animal at the service station on the side of the motorway leading away from Paris, Le Parisiene reports.

Police, fire officials and a specially trained hunting dog have been combing countryside outside Montevrain, helped by a helicopter.

Residents of Montevrain and two other towns have been told to stay indoors.

Children were kept in schools on November 13 and collected by their parents by car.

It was unclear where the animal came from, though there is a big cat park near Montevrain.

The helicopter was equipped with a thermal detector to try to spot the animal in the undergrowth.

A huntsman, officially designated as a “wolf catcher”, with a specially trained dog was also part of the search team, authorities in Montevrain and Seine-et-Marne said.

Specialists said the animal’s tracks were those of a young tiger. An official from the mayor’s office said they had been able to trace the animal to the woodland by following its prints.

The Montevrain mayor’s office dismissed the idea that the tiger could have escaped from a circus that was in the town until Saturday, Le Parisien reported.

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