• 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
Calais Migrants
Migrant: 'France will protect me more than UK'
Migrants building a home in the New Jungle in Calais. Photo: AFP

Migrant: 'France will protect me more than UK'

While the intense media coverage of Calais might suggest that all migrants there want to make it to the UK, an increasing number of them are now actually choosing to stay in France. READ  

Reunion wreckage
Experts confirm Réunion debris is Boeing 777
People comb the beaches of Réunion looking for more plane wreckage. Photo: AFP

Experts confirm Réunion debris is Boeing 777

Malaysian authorities confirmed on Friday that plane wreckage washed up on France's island of Réunion was from a Boeing 777, meaning the part is almost certainly from missing flight MH370. READ  

France names capital cities for new regions
Here is the full list of the new proposed capitals. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

France names capital cities for new regions

French officials have revealed their suggestions for the capital cities of the country's newest regions. But not everyone is happy about the choices. READ  

French roads set for 'Black Saturday' jams
Authorities are recommending people to delay their journeys until Sunday. Photo: Philippe Desmazes/ AFP

French roads set for 'Black Saturday' jams

Planning to head out to the countryside this weekend? Beware, the roads will be hit by millions of French motorists taking off for their August break. READ  

Striking French seamen block Calais port
Striking employees of the My Ferry Link company block the access to the port of Calais. Photo: AFP

Striking French seamen block Calais port

Hundreds of French sailors blocked the city of Calais Friday, using burning tyres to prevent access to the port in the midst of the peak holiday travel period. READ  

French court says 'non' to new cockfighting pits
France hopes to be able to stamp out cockfighting altogether eventually. Photo: Jean-Michel Andre/ AFP

French court says 'non' to new cockfighting pits

France's top court on Friday upheld a ban on new cockfighting pits, as the country seeks to stamp out the ancient bloodsport that continues in some regions despite being banned in most parts of the world. READ  

Riviera trade group: 'Leave Saudis alone'
The beach is located just below the Saudi king’s Riviera villa in Vallauris. Photo: Valery Hache/ AFP

Riviera trade group: 'Leave Saudis alone'

After weeks of uproar over a decision to let the Saudi royals “privatise” a public beach on the French Riviera, a trade group has pleaded for locals to calm down and leave the Middle Eastern visitors alone. READ  

France and Russia 'reach deal' on ditched Mistrals
Photo: Frank Perry /AFP

France and Russia 'reach deal' on ditched Mistrals

After eight months of negotiations France and Russia have reached a deal on the amount Paris must pay Moscow in compensation for the non-delivery of two Mistral warships, a senior Russian official said Friday. READ  

Google defies France on 'right to be forgotten'
Google rejected a French bid for a global right to be forgotten. Photo: AFP

Google defies France on 'right to be forgotten'

Google on Thursday rejected a French demand to globally apply the so-called right to be forgotten, which requires the company to remove links to certain information about users if asked. READ  

Extra French police help curb Calais migrant flow
French gendarmes attempt to block a migrant after he entered the Eurotunnel site. Photo: AFP

Extra French police help curb Calais migrant flow

A newly enforced police unit in northern France blocked at least 200 people from reaching the Channel Tunnel on Thursday night, as the British government prepares for an emergency meeting on Friday to grapple with the crisis. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Réunion's plane debris to be probed in France
Ten things you didn't know about Gay Paris
France eyes boost to holiday leave rights
Business & Money
French dating sites 'not protecting client privacy'
Features
Learn more about the Bayonne festival - France's wildest party
Features
What's on in France: Ten things to do in August
Features
What to see and do at the Paris Plages this summer
Saudi royals 'bar' French policewomen from beach
Take a closer look at the 560,000-year-old tooth found in France
National
Swiss army pilfers French water to give to thirsty cows
National
'B**ch' and 'brainless': French shop slurs clients
Travel
French cops rebel over order to give kids sweets
National
New measures to stop migrant deaths in Calais
Travel
Here are some of the most ridiculous comments you'll read about France
Features
Life may be about to get easier for expats settling in France
National
Burning tyres and blocking roads is just the way the French do strikes
National
Muslim tourists visiting French Alps are reminded of burqa ban
Opinion
Slim and chic: Are French women fed up of the stereotypes?
French officials defend handing public beach over to Saudi royals
Society
French kiss: Should expats in France do 'la bise' among themselves?
National
Paris commuters and tourists face summer of travel trouble
This man learnt the entire French vocabulary in nine weeks, but why?
French speed cameras snare tens of thousands of British drivers
Gallery
What kind of expat in France are you: A lover or a loather?
Society
French tweeters reveal the trials and tribulations of #GrowingupFrench
Where to find the best (and worst) quality of life in France
National
Riviera rumpus as Saudi royals grab public beach all for themselves
What we know about France's foiled terror plot
Features
Here are ten places in Paris where you can escape the summer heat
National
Coup d'état fails in France after being snubbed by military
Are shoppers in northern France the most honest in the world?
French woman fined €90 for driving in flip-flops
Cyclists in Paris get the green light to jump red
'Adieu France': Angry mum's parting rant goes viral
Franco-German rift opens over Greece and it could take time to heal
The Megavalanche: The most spectacular cycling event in France
Ex-French PM's daughter creates a buzz by going topless for photo shoot
Could Parisians be bathing in the Seine by 2024?
Paris unveils new mobile app to help non-French speakers
France declares war on public transport sex pests
So where's the best place to live in France if you want to be happy?
Opinion
Paris: The City of Light, Romance, Style and the worst loos in Europe?
National
Eight ways living in France will change your lifestyle for good
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

3,613
jobs available