Fugitive bear held after two weeks on the run

A fugitive bear, who had been on the run in the south of France, was finally snared at the weekend. After giving police the runaround for two weeks, the Tibetan brown bear was finally hauled back to the reserve from which it had escaped.

Fugitive bear held after two weeks on the run
File photo of a Tibetan brown bear. Photo:Tambakothejaguar/Flickr

Viviane, a Tibetan brown bear, was finally tracked down a few miles north of the Sigean African Reserve, in the Aude region of southern France, where it had eloped from on June 23.

It was located by a fisherman at a around 10pm on Saturday evening, close to where it had been sighted just a day after its escape

“The police contacted us and a team from the reserve was sent to the spot. She was located and tranquilized at around 1am on Sunday morning,” the reserve’s spokesman Gabriel de Jesus added.

“She has returned from her holidays. She had 14 days off and that was enough. She’s back,” said a delighted de Jesus.

The 32-year-old Tibetan brown bear was later returned to the reserve.

For two-weeks the 130kg animal had managed to escape the clutches of a 70-strong search team aided by two helicopters, which included 30 soldiers wearing night vision goggles.

Police were eventually forced to change tactics and ditched the search team in favour of a quick response unit.

Residents, walkers and holiday makers at campsites in the region had been advised to be vigilant and not to approach the bear.

Officials at the reserve insisted she was not dangerous and were more concerned that the bear herself may end up injured during her jaunt into the wilds of southern France.

But to their relief she returned in fine fettle.

“She has not lost weight and is in good health. We are very relieved that she is healthy and has not been injured,” de Jesus added.

Jean-JacquesBoisard, president of the reserve, believes Viviane may have fled after refusing the advances of some of the male bears in the group.

Authorities at the reserve however have still not explained how exactly she managed to escape.

Although the bear might be back behind bars there is still concern in southern France that a black panther is at large after several sightings last week.

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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.