French police downgrade tiger hunt to cat chase

Members of the National Hunting and Wildlife Office talk on Nov 14, 2014 in the woods of Ferrieres-en-Brie, on the outskirts of Paris, during the ongoing search for what was first described as a tiger on the loose. French authorities said on Nov 14 t
Members of the National Hunting and Wildlife Office talk on Nov 14, 2014 in the woods of Ferrieres-en-Brie, on the outskirts of Paris, during the ongoing search for what was first described as a tiger on the loose. French authorities said on Nov 14 that a large animal roaming around a town on the outskirts of Paris was likely not a tiger but a different species of big cat. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) - Police scaled back a massive tiger hunt east of Paris on Friday after experts said the animal that triggered the deployment of hundreds of emergency services workers, animal-trackers and a helicopter was probably little more than a large cat or lynx.

Local authorities, which on Thursday told residents to stay indoors as a massive hunt began, said 24 hours later it was no longer a question of a potentially deadly tiger on the loose in the region near the Disneyland theme park.

Local media went into overdrive with blanket coverage of the hunt after the alarm was raised, speculating on the basis of a fuzzy photograph released on Thursday that a tiger of 80kg was roaming free and heading for Paris.

Eric Hansen of the national agency for hunting and wild fauna, said the animal in question was more likely a smaller and far less dangerous creature, maybe a lynx and or even just a large domestic cat of 10 kilos.

"People got a bit carried away," said Hansen.