Petition to save escaped mountain lion in France as police hunt to kill

Tens of thousands sign up to protect big cat being tracked by armed authorities

Thousands of people have signed a petition to save an escaped mountain lion that French police have orders to shoot on sight.

Officers in northern France are looking for the big cat in the Pas-de-Calais region in which the cities of Boulogne and Arras are situated.

French media identified the escaped animal as a North American mountain lion but it is not known from where it escaped.

The prefecture of Pas-de-Calais said the big cat had been spotted several times between Frevent and Auxi-le-Chateau.

Police and animal specialists have found tracks belonging to a big cat.

Wildlife authorities have now been given permission to shoot the animal.

A petition has been launched on to save the animal's life, already gathering more than 40,000 signatures. It said the animal was believed to be an American puma.

The petition calls for justice for the endangered species.

“In the United States, the puma is one of the endangered species, several branches of which have already disappeared from the continent,” it says.

“It is also forbidden to deliberately kill a puma, but this law cannot be applied on French soil, the puma not being an endemic species in our territory.

“At present, the prefect has therefore authorised the killing of a “dangerous” beast that has not caused any disturbance to the ecosystem."

The petition goes on to say that should the animal be shot dead, “despite the fact that there was no attack whatsoever”, the prefect must be held to account.

“This is why today, I ask that justice be done,” it says.

Updated: October 19th 2021, 8:24 AM