• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'Black panthers' spotted on the French Riviera

Ben McPartland · 5 Jul 2013, 09:06

Published: 05 Jul 2013 09:06 GMT+02:00

They might be being led on a wild cat chase but police in the Toulon region of the Riviera are taking no chances.

Officers have been forced to step up patrols and bring in helicopter support after several sightings of one or even two black panthers in recent days.

“The police are conducting patrols in the area and are waiting or the next sighting to trigger a helicopter search of the area,” the Var police chief announced this week.

Their searches are concentrated on the area between Toulon and the village of Revest-les-Eaux.

According to local newspaper Var Matin Jean-Pierre Georges, manager of the nearby Mont Faron Zoo, has not reported any escaped wild cats, but had studied tracks he believed were genuine.

“There is no doubt it is a cat, probably a black panther. This is because there are some easily identifiable tracks. Cats have retractable claws unlike dogs. The tracks I saw on the ground had no claw marks, only marks from the pads of the feet," he told Var Matin.

Story continues below…

This is not the first time residents in the area have spotted a panther. In January police were forced to launch a similar cat hunt after a resident claimed to have seen the animal near the village of Villeneuve-Loubet. And in 2004 a search was organised around Marseille but no beast was ever found.

Not far from the recent panther sightings in the Var, police are also on the trail of an escaped brown bear that has so far given them the run around, despite being spotted several times.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French far-right family feud exposed at May Day rallies
Leader of French far-right party Front National (FN) Marine Le Pen. Photo: AFP

There were barely enough statues of Joan of Arc to go around in Paris on Sunday as feuding factions of France's far-right National Front (FN) held rival May Day rallies at the feet of their heroine.

Copyright expires on Bolero, French classical favourite
Musicians of the "Orchestre Lamoureux" perform Maurice Ravel's Bolero. Photo: AFP

Almost 90 years after it was first performed in Paris, the copyright runs out on Sunday on one of the most popular and unique pieces of classical music, Ravel's "Bolero".

France to increase forces in Ivory Coast
French troops based in Abidjan and a soldier from Ivory Coast's Republican Forces carry a soldier during a military exercise. Photo: AFP

France will increase the number of its troops in Ivory Coast, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday on a trip to the African nation which hosts a regional base for French forces.

Fire ravages Muslim prayer hall in Corsica
The building, one of the largest prayer halls in the capital Ajaccio, suffered major damage in the fire. Photo: Yannick Graziani/AFP

A Muslim prayer hall on the French island of Corsica was ravaged by fire on Saturday in what prosecutors said was probably a criminal attack.

'I feel no guilt': French boss defends €2.5m salary hike
"I earn this much". Peugeot Citroen boss Carlos Tavares defends his salary. Photo: AFP

The boss of French car giant Peugeot says he feels no guilt over his €2.5million salary rise and the criticism is all part of his pay packet.

Nine must-see landmarks in Paris you may have missed
Photo: AFP

You've seen the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame Cathedral. So what next?

Cap on EU roaming charges set to kick in
Photo: zoetnet/Flickr

EU mobile users will soon be calling from Alicante to Zagreb at lower prices.

UK pair charged with funding Paris attacks suspect
Photo: Police

Two UK nationals have been charged with handing over to cash to a suspect in the Paris terror attacks.

Paris makes love-lock bridge even more love-lock proof
Photo: Michel Gauret/No Love Locks

Good luck attaching a love lock now.

France gets tough on Muslim footballers praying on pitch
Archive photo of Muslims praying on a sports pitch in France. Photo: AFP

Authorities in the Riviera city of Nice are cracking down on Muslims praying on their football pitches, arguing it is against France's Republican principles.

Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
Society
Protesters clash with police over France's new labour laws
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
National
French dangerously 'unprepared' for future natural disasters
Is it really safe to come to France for Euro 2016?
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
National
Salah Abdeslam: Pot-smoking 'little moron' is finally back in Paris
Society
PICTURES: Snow falls in Paris... at the end of April?
Rail strike: Passengers in France face major disruption
Cats in a cafe?!? Nine of the quirkiest things you can see in Paris
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
VIDEO: The moment a Paris suicide bomber blew himself up
National
Why there's another rail strike in France and why there will be more
National
Winter is coming (back). Why is France so cold right now?
National
WWI's Anzac Day heroes honoured in northern France service
Lifestyle
VIDEO: Did you know all these stars spoke great French?
Culture
How did the French end up with their 'crazy' numbers?
Politics
Why this man could become the next president of France
Society
VIDEO: Jewellers in southern France raided by... swarm of bees
Culture
Did you know the strange origins of these six French curse words?
Why are more and more people dying on French roads?
National
VIDEO: Mass street brawl erupts at Paris migrant camp
Culture
Film 'Chocolat' highlights taboo of race problem in French cinema
Society
British people have been urged to come to France... and to get naked
Culture
15 reasons Clermont-Ferrand is the best place in France
National
Eight tips for buying wine in a French supermarket
Culture
Steven Spielberg and Jodie Foster top star-studded Cannes cast
2,783
jobs available