• France's news in English
 

Wolves continue their advance on Paris

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.

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

Don't miss stories about France, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to enlist hackers to tackle jihadists
The hackers will help stop jihadist recruiters before they've convinced young French nationals to join their cause. Photo: AFP

France to enlist hackers to tackle jihadists

France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls has announced that he plans to turn to computer hackers, often the scourge of governments worldwide, in order to infiltrate online jihadist networks. READ  

Europe takes France to task for Uber crackdown
France's crackdown on Uber may not be that legal after all. Photo: AFP

Europe takes France to task for Uber crackdown

Regulators in Brussels are pressuring France over a new law designed to halt the meteoric rise of Uber, the popular taxi app that is facing fierce opposition from traditional cabs. READ  

Paris migrant camp taken down over scabies fears
Hundreds of migrants, mostly from East Africa, live in this camp, some for a year, under the elevated railway near the Porte de la Chapelle. Photo: AFP

Paris migrant camp taken down over scabies fears

The 400 migrants who had set up a temporary shelter not far from Montmartre in northern Paris have been told to leave after officials warned of the high risks of epidemic sicknesses spreading. READ  

France bans smoking in childrens playgrounds
Lighting up will be banned in French playgrounds this summer. Photo: AFP

France bans smoking in childrens playgrounds

France’s crackdown on tobacco will continue this summer as the government announced this week smokers will no longer be allowed to light up in playgrounds. READ  

What's the story behind French Neighbours' Day?
Families get together in the northern suburbs of Paris on Neighbour's Day. Photo: AFP

What's the story behind French Neighbours' Day?

Friday marks Neighbours' Day (Fête des Voisins), a celebration that has spread across the world after it was created in France. Find out how the discovery of a dead woman's body prompted the movement, and how you're expected to take part. READ  

Ten Tips - Pickpockets
How to avoid the Paris Metro pickpockets
Thieves love "the overcrowded Paris Metro, where pushing, shoving, stumbling and chaos of every variety are always just around the corner." Photo: Thomas Ulrich

How to avoid the Paris Metro pickpockets

You might be a seasoned pro on the Paris Metro, or just visiting for a few days. Either way, you will need to watch out for ingenious pickpockets working the French capital’s underground rail network. Here's a guide on how to avoid being robbed. READ  

Crime in Paris
How Eiffel Tower thieves earned €4,000 a day each
Crowds regularly swarm beneath the Eiffel Tower. Photo: Krzysztof Belczyński/Flickr

How Eiffel Tower thieves earned €4,000 a day each

Paris police busted a pickpocket gang this week, who "earned" up to €4,000 a day each in peak season by preying on tourists at the Eiffel Tower. But how exactly were they pinching your belongings? Here's a closer look. READ  

VIDEO: Top five street scams to avoid in Paris
Here are five street scams everyone should know about in Paris. Photo: Screengrab/YouTube

VIDEO: Top five street scams to avoid in Paris

As ten members of the Eiffel Tower gang of pickpockets are caught, we take a look at five well-known street scams that tourists and visitors to Paris regularly fall victim to. READ  

Dining in Paris
Paris chefs embrace rooftop gardens
Frame Brasserie sous-chef Ogier Pottiez picks plants the rooftop of the Pullman Eiffel Tower hotel in Paris. Photo: AFP

Paris chefs embrace rooftop gardens

Chefs in Paris are taking the concept of "eating locally" to heart, with rooftop gardens sprouting up around the French capital. And they say the concept is here to stay. READ  

National Front demands EU referendum in France
Should the French also have a referendum on their membership in the EU? Photo: AFP

National Front demands EU referendum in France

David Cameron's pledge to hold an in/out referendum on Britain's membership of the EU has been backed by France's far right National Front party, which wants the same in France, where views of the EU have soured over the years. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Paris signals the end of the love lock
International
VIDEO: Top five street scams to avoid in Paris
What's on in France: Ten things to do in June
Study: Over 40 percent of the French don't shower every day
Opinion: Can France's new mega university rival the best?
'We need to talk about Europe... and what it has brought the UK'
National
Look what you can buy in France for the price of a London flat
France honours four French Resistance heros
Culture
The French film that cinemas are too scared to show
Features
How many of these stunning Paris streets have YOU walked down?
National
British woman bites off French reveller's thumb
National
200 years on, why is Waterloo still taboo for the French?
Features
Take a tour of the best Metro stations that Paris has to offer
National
Soon there'll be a fixed fare for a taxi ride from the airport into Paris
National
Drug dealers in Marseille are offering customers loyalty cards
Soon there'll be no minimum for using your bank card in France
Features
Fancy starting a business and living in Paris? There's help available
National
Are you fearing a Brexit? Maybe it's time to become a French citizen
How hard-up French are tempted by money to take migrants to the UK
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Education
More English words (including 'le selfie') sneak into French
Charlie Hebdo to give €4.3m to attack victims
National
French Protestants bless gay marriage
Opinion
Why elitism is dragging France down
Features
RECIPE: How to make your own picnic-perfect meringues
Business & Money
French tax declaration deadline: Key things to remember
VIDEO: Can YOU pronounce the trickiest word in French?
France tops holiday wish list for children
National
Study: Women do bulk of housework in France
National
VIDEO: Police use force on Calais migrants
National
This man is France's Instagram king. But who else makes the top list?
Features
Free museum entry, film festivals, sports... see What's On this in May
Culture
Behind the curtain: A closer look at the Cannes Film Festival
National
It's a boy! Baby born on Air France flight to Paris
Features
Love-locked: Whatever happened to Paris's beautiful bridges?
'Forget the UK election, expats should be able to vote in France'
Thomas Piketty backs Miliband for Britain but not Hollande for France
Gallery
The most spectacular sunset pictures from around France
National
France tells migrants in Calais to 'forget the UK and stay here'
Society
VIDEO: See what's beneath the surface of the French Riviera
National
French teen suicide after sex video web bullying
France launches bid to buy Europe's biggest and most spectacular dune
Double standards? French Muslim barred from class over long skirt
National
France goes on the defensive after UN experts say 'racism is trivialised'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se