• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Wolves continue their advance on Paris

Ben McPartland · 23 Apr 2014, 17:03

Published: 23 Apr 2014 17:03 GMT+02:00

Wolves continue their approach towards the French capital, slowly and stealthily, it seems.

This week authorities confirmed that for the first time one of the wild predators was caught on camera within 250 km of Paris in the Meuse department of north eastern France.

It may sound far enough away not to be concerned but it comes after another wolf was killed in January in the Marne department, just 160 km from the capital.

The wolf photographed (see below) in la Meuse was snapped on April 18th by an automatic camera belonging to the National Office of Hunting and Fauna. The camera was installed as part of an investigation following a flurry of reports of several wolf attacks on sheep since October 2013.

Although the chances of the public seeing one in the future wandering around the Jardins des Luxembourg or the Champ de Mars, are almost nil, the animals are expected to continue their advance into the Ile de France region around Paris in the years to come. The forest of Fontainebleau is expected to have been colonised within two years.

(The wolf caught on camera in the Marne department, withing 250 km of Paris) 

Alain Laurent, head of the Wolf and Lynx network in north-east France, told Le Figaro newspaper that wolves will continue to close in on Paris but are unlikely to cross the peripherique.

“Do not panic the wolves will not be biting Parisians, but one day we might see them in the grande couronne (outlying suburbs),” he says.

But Laurent adds: “Wolves are animals that can move very far, very quickly (400km a day) and they will not be afraid of human infrastructure like motorways."

“For example whole packs crossed the Rhone Valley [from the Alps] to settle in the Massif Central,” he said.

The wild animals come a long way since they first reappeared in the Alps in 1992 after being wiped out entirely in France by 1937 through being hunted or poisoned.

Since their return to French soil wolf packs have also settled in the Massif Central in the centre of France and were officially recorded as having spread out to the Vosges mountains in the east in 2012. 

They have also been spotted in the Jura and last May numerous attacks on sheep were reported in the Aube and Haute-Marne departments of the Champagne Ardennes region.There are now an estimated 300 wolves in France living in between 20 to 25 different packs.

This map, published by Le Monde newspaper shows the areas of France now colonised by the predators as well as the rise in the number of attacks on animals.

The resurgence of the animals in France is a divisive issue that puts farmers, fed up at seeing their livestock destroyed (around 5,000 a year in France) at loggerheads with wildlife campaigners, who say farmers have to adapt to live alongside wolves.

Wolves are actually a protected species in France but in certain areas where farm animals have been regularly attacked, special hunts have been permitted and a maximum of 24 wolves are allowed to be culled each year.

However success has been limited.

Story continues below…

In August last year The Local reported how some exasperated farmers had called for professional hunters from the US to be drafted in as locals had proved incapable of finding and killing the predators.

"In France, no one knows how to hunt wolves!" cried Laurent Cayrel, head of Var prefect in Provence, when he met with sheep farmers.

Not a single wolf was killed during a recent 150-man hunt to cull the animals in the military camp of Canjuers, in Provence where up to 80 percent of all wolf attacks in France have taken place.

In February last year in a seemingly hairbrained bid to try and crackdown on the number of wolf attacks on farm animals the French government announced a plan to try and "educate" the wild beasts.

SEE ALSO: The most dangerous animals found in France

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
View from the rue
What do Parisians think of France's burqini bans?
Photo: AFP

With 64 percent of the French against burqinis at the beach, what do the Parisians think?

Almost half of France now on heatwave alert
Children cool off in Nice's fountains. Photo: AFP

Orange alerts - the second highest level - were issued to 43 départements as France's heatwave shows no signs of stopping.

France's top ten beaches to survive the heatwave
Photo: Gomezdegomera/Flickr

Temperatures are soaring... why not head to the beach?

Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
People taking part in activities in the Bassin de la Villette. Photo: AFP

If you fancy a rare chance to swim along the Paris canal system, here comes your chance.

French wine output drops 10 percent after stormy weather
A vineyard in Valfaunes partially destroyed after a violent hailstorm near the southern city of Montpellier. Photo: AFP

Bad weather has pushed wine production in France down ten percent this year.

Migrants armed with sticks hold up truck driver in Calais
Migrants standing near the Calais motorway. File photo: AFP

The driver involved says he deals with similar incidents "every night".

Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
The burqini ban in 30 French towns has provoked debate worldwide. Photo: AFP

Almost two thirds of French people said they're against the controversial swimwear.

Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Photo: Thomas Heylen/Flickr

A few things you need to know about interning in France.

Police arrest Lyon man who 'talked of attack plans'
French soldiers patrolling the Part-Dieu train station last year. Photo: AFP

The man had talked about plans to attack a busy district in central Lyon.

France's burqini ban goes before country's top court
A woman models the burqini swimsuit. Photo: AFP

France's highest administrative court will on Thursday examine a request to scrap a ban on the Islamic burqini swimsuit.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
'To boycott France is to surrender to terrorists'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Travel
21 photos to make you want to come to France right now
Society
This is how much the French are obsessed with cheese
National
French MP's call for Facebook ID cards blasted 'as idiotic'
Travel
Summer checklist: Fourteen great travel ideas for France
Travel
Here's why France is still world's top tourist destination
'Wealthy American tourists' snub France over terror fears
National
Where to go swimming in France (and where to avoid)
2,751
jobs available