• A big cat, which could be a young lioness, was seen and filmed several times in Prouvy, near Valenciennes.
  • The OFB, the environmental police, was notified and sent officers to try to locate and identify the animal.
  • With the Armentières leopard and the Pas-de-Calais puma, this is the third time since 2019 that a fawn has been reported in the region.

In the jungle, terrible jungle of Hauts-de-France. We are not going to go so far as to say that the region is becoming a wild land populated by wild animals. However, in recent years, several cases involving wild animals have caused a lot of ink to flow and feed social networks. Panther of Armentières, puma of Pas-de-Calais, wolf of the Somme and, this week, the lioness of Prouvy. For specialists, it is more of a prism effect than a real phenomenon.

On Tuesday, a resident of Prouvy, near Valenciennes, in the North, filmed an animal walking quietly along a railway track along his garden. An animal that, at first glance, is far from belonging to a species endemic to the region. "It would be more like a lioness, a lion cub," he says in the description of his video. Indeed, the size of this big cat does not suffer the comparison with a banal gutter cat. In doubt, a report was made to the authorities and officials of the French Office of Biodiversity (OFB), the environmental police, were dispatched to the scene on Wednesday and Thursday.

"We are typically on wild animals"

"We have a video that is being analyzed at home on which we see a feline moving," confirms to 20 Minutes an agent of the northern office of the OFB. "The video is not of very good quality and the animal has not been formally identified. We can't talk about a lion yet," he continues. However, a specialist working in a shelter accustomed to collecting wild cats is much less skeptical: "It's not a cat, we're typically on wild animals, that's obvious," she says. It wouldn't surprise me if she was a young lioness. »

At this stage, however, the mystery remains unsolved and the search continues. "Investigations are underway on site, in particular to find possible traces," says 20 Minutes the OFB. For our specialist, who prefers to remain discreet, the situation must be taken seriously: "If it is indeed a lioness, letting it wander is dangerous since it is a wild animal," she says. If she has been bottle-raised, there may be some ease in approaching her, but the counterpart of this is that she will not be afraid of the man. »

However, cases of this type are very rare. We remember, in 2019, the panther of Armentières, illegally owned by an individual in an apartment. At the end of 2021, in the Pas-de-Calais, there was this big cat, probably a puma, which had been seen several times before disappearing as it had come. At the shelter of our specialist, the reception of wandering cats is however very rare: "The big cats that we recover most often come from circuses or animal parks. What we see, however, more often are abandonments of servals or caracals," she admits. Felines of more modest size than a lion, nevertheless wild, whose possession requires a certificate of capacity. "We don't have any more reports of this type here than elsewhere. In general, it is quite common that we are reported ''big cats'' who wander around and who finally turn out to be cats, "we are told at the OFB.

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  • Hauts-de-France
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