Authorities in Montevrain, France have roped off a section of forest just east of Paris after reports of a tiger sighting in the area on Thursday. According to the BBC, local officials have advised residents to stay indoors and have locked down nearby schools. Out on the streets, a gathering of municipal police, personnel from the French National Gendarmerie, and rescue teams from the Service Departmental d’Incendie et de Secours have mobilized to help search for the large feline. Police have even hired a team of professional wolf hunters to track the animal down if necessary.
Authorities have no clue where the tiger came from.
“We urge you to exercise caution and not to walk around the perimeter [of the woods], which has been secured since this morning,” the village of Montevrain posted on its Facebook page in French. “We will keep you informed of the outcome of these events. We repeat, avoid walking [in the area] and travel by vehicle instead.”
Officials initially believed that the feline may have escaped from Disneyland Paris or a traveling circus that passed through the area recently. However, the Montevrain mayor’s office stated that the tiger was not a part of the circus, and EuroDisney, the owners of Disneyland Paris, said the park does not have any tigers either. Regardless of where the cat came from, the Associated Press reported that two other towns nearby—Chessy and Chalifert—are also on alert. A police helicopter is currently being used to search for the tiger in the dense brush near a soccer field in Montevrain.
Experts who studied the tracks say that the feline appears to be a young tiger. Several residents spotted the animal earlier today prowling through a supermaket’s parking lot and initially mistook the tiger for a very large lynx.