French authorities say a big, wild cat eluding police near Disneyland Paris is not a tiger, but they don't know exactly what it is.
The administration for the Seine-et-Marne region said in a statement Friday that "the presence of an animal of the tiger species is now excluded," based on analysis by government wild animal experts.
The administration announced Thursday that authorities were searching for a tiger on the loose. It said Friday the animal is a feline but they are still trying to determine its species.
Some 200 police, military officers and others are still searching for the animal.
Sightings and images of the beast had been somewhat underwhelming so far, prompting one wag to post footage of a leopard stalking through a car park in India, claiming it was the 'Paris Tiger'.
It is unclear where the animal came from, though there is a big cat park in nearby Montrevrain, the BBC notes. It adds residents of Montrevrain and two other towns have been told to stay indoors and children have been kept in schools and collected by their parents by car.
One theory that the animal escaped from a circus that was operating close to the village last week has been dismissed, Le Parisiene reports.
The local mayor’s office told the newspaper: “The circus left on Saturday and during the health inspection before the event, officials did not notice the presence of a tiger.”
This a picture of the alleged 'tiger' on the loose in Paris... Could it be?! pic.twitter.com/8DS8FzGgBY— WebJourno (@SteveRobson04) November 13, 2014
Meanwhile Frederic Edelstein, head of France's Pinder Circus, warned people not to run away if they saw the animal, adding: "In this case, its instinct would be to chase after its prey."
He said: "If you see it coming towards you, make as much noise as you can in order to frighten it.
"If this doesn't work, you should start waving your arms, but without moving away, or it will only move closer. The main worry is that it starts to get hungry. In this case it could attack its prey, be that a dog, a cow or a goat.
"It is most likely that it will find its way to a farm where its predatory instincts will take over."
In an interview with Le Express he explained that the animal's catcher must remain "calm."
"Once located, try to mark the area with barriers, and get it into an enclosure, if it is used. This avoids the sleep or catch it with a hypodermic gun, which would be the easy option.
"In this case, it would require a licensed veterinarian with a hypodermic gun and sleep, once spotted.
"But everything must be done in a calm, continuity, and especially without any nervousness or crowd nearby. Otherwise, the animal will be scared and want to go further, or worse, defend themselves."Suggest a correction