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Fugitive bear spends sixth day on the run
File photo: Beverly and Pack/Flickr

Fugitive bear spends sixth day on the run

Published: 28 Jun 2013 14:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Jun 2013 14:36 GMT+02:00

A 70-strong search team made up of policemen, firefighters, vets and even soldiers from a parachute regiment, have been given the runaround by an escaped Tibetan brown bear, who remained at large in southern France on Friday for the sixth day.

The fugitive 130kg bear named Viviane escaped from the Sigean African Reserve, in the Aude region of southern France on Sunday, June 23rd.

But despite there being several sightings, the 32-year-old Tibetan brown bear has managed to escape the clutches of a 70-strong search team aided by two helicopters.

The most recent sighting was on Tuesday when a jogger got more than she bargained for on her morning run when she came across the animal on Île de Sainte-Lucie at Port la Nouvelle.

But by the time police got to the spot, Viviane had moved on.  

The bear’s disappearing trick has forced officers to change their tactics, with large-scale patrols scaled down and an emergency response team set up instead to react to any sightings.

“Viviane could survive on her own for a very long time. At the reserve where she grew up she was used to eating roots and leaves,” said Gabriel de Jesüs from Sigean reserve.

“The food we gave her, like carrots or apples, was just to complement her diet. Our only fear is that she might be injured."

Residents, walkers and holiday makers at campsites in the region have been advised to be vigilant. The official advice if you see the bear is not to panic, if possible, but also not to approach the animal.

Staff at the reserve have still not determined how the animal managed to escape.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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