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Fugitive bear spends sixth day on the run

A 70-strong search team made up of policemen, firefighters, vets and even soldiers from a parachute regiment, have been given the runaround by an escaped Tibetan brown bear, who remained at large in southern France on Friday for the sixth day.

Fugitive bear spends sixth day on the run
File photo: Beverly and Pack/Flickr

The fugitive 130kg bear named Viviane escaped from the Sigean African Reserve, in the Aude region of southern France on Sunday, June 23rd.

But despite there being several sightings, the 32-year-old Tibetan brown bear has managed to escape the clutches of a 70-strong search team aided by two helicopters.

The most recent sighting was on Tuesday when a jogger got more than she bargained for on her morning run when she came across the animal on Île de Sainte-Lucie at Port la Nouvelle.

But by the time police got to the spot, Viviane had moved on.  

The bear’s disappearing trick has forced officers to change their tactics, with large-scale patrols scaled down and an emergency response team set up instead to react to any sightings.

“Viviane could survive on her own for a very long time. At the reserve where she grew up she was used to eating roots and leaves,” said Gabriel de Jesüs from Sigean reserve.

“The food we gave her, like carrots or apples, was just to complement her diet. Our only fear is that she might be injured."

Residents, walkers and holiday makers at campsites in the region have been advised to be vigilant. The official advice if you see the bear is not to panic, if possible, but also not to approach the animal.

Staff at the reserve have still not determined how the animal managed to escape.

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BEAR

Bear hunt launched in France after rescue cub escapes from village

A malnourished bear cub found wandering alone through a French village last week has escaped from the home of its appointed carer, triggering a major search, local authorities said Monday.

Bear hunt launched in France after rescue cub escapes from village
Bears are sometimes spotted living wild in the French mountains. Photo: AFP

The cub, believed to be about five months old, has very little chance of survival unless found in the coming hours, according to authorities in Tarn, a southwestern region in the French Pyrenees.

Weighing a mere 8kg, it presents “no danger to humans,” officials said in a statement.

SEE ALSO VIDEO: French farmers v wolves and bears in a battle for livelihood

The bear was found in south west France. Photo: Préfecture of Ariège

The little bear, which was separated from its mother before being weaned, was very weak when found in Couflens, a village on the French-Spanish border. 

After being caught by agents from France's national hunting and wildlife agency ONCFS, it was taken in by a person licensed to keep wild animals.

Saint-Pierre-de-Trivisy, about 100 km east of Toulouse.

No details about how the cub escaped were immediately available.

A team of 12, including three ONCFS wildlife experts, were searching for the animal on Monday.

The authorities appealed for information on any sightings. 

About 50 brown bears live on the French side of the Pyrenees mountains that straddle the border with Spain. 

France began reintroducing bears from Slovenia about 20 years ago, despite opposition from local farmers, after the native population was hunted to near extinction.

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