Tibetan bear on the loose in south of France

Tibetan bear on the loose in south of France
File photo of a brown bear. Photo: FLickr/Timbako the jaguar
A Tibetan brown bear remained at large in the Aude region of the south of France on Monday despite a huge search effort to track down the animal, which escaped from a nearby zoo. Residents have been told not to approach the bear.
  • Update: 11 am, French time. The bear was spotted, but not yet captured, on Monday night on the D3 motorway between Portel-des-Corbières and Sigean, according to police in the department of Aude.

French police, fire fighters and vets armed with tranquilizers were all on the hunt for Tibetan brown bear on Monday after it escaped from the Sigean African Reserve the previous day.

Residents in the area were warned not to approach the 130-kilo bear, named Viviane.

After Sunday’s search failed to locate the bear reinforcements were brought in on Monday with around 40 officers from the gendarmerie along with specialist sniffer dogs, two helicopters, two vets and around a dozen fire fighters all on the trail of the runaway bear.

The last time Viviane was spotted was near the pond at Bages, not far from the reserve.

Initial reports in the local media suggested that two bears had escaped from the reserve and that they had left a trail of bloodshed behind them as they attacked sheep in farms across the region.

However after further investigation police determined that only one bear, a 32-year-old female, had managed to break out and that no dead animals had been found in the area where she is believed to be.

Police and staff at the reserve have still not determined how the animal managed to escape.

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