Animal Believed To Be A Wolf Spotted In Northern France For First Time In A Century
The wolf was captured on an automatic surveillance camera near the village of Londinières, in Normandy's Seine-Maritime department.
In a statement, the prefecture confirmed that experts at the French Biodiversity Office - a state organisation that monitors the country's wolf population - had 'authenticated this observation as very probably being a grey wolf'.
In France, European grey wolves were hunted to extinction back in the 1930s, but re-entered the country from Italy in the 1990s.
However, while the animals have been spreading across the land and re-establishing themselves in the decades since, until now none have been sighted so far north.
Seine-Maritime Prefecture said: ''They can cover distances of several hundred kilometres in a few months before settling.
"The maximum distance from the place of birth can exceed 1,500 kilometres (1,350 miles)."
Around 530 wolves are thought to be living in France today, with the majority of these found in the Alps or towards the south-east near the border with Italy.
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The EU's Bern Convention, a binding international legal instrument in the field of nature conservation - signed by France - considers wolves to be a protected species, which means the population has grown by around 40 percent in the last two years.
According to The Telegraph, other European nations reporting a rise in domestic wolf populations include Italy, Denmark, Latvia and Estonia.
While France has wolves, over in South Africa they've got lions causing havoc in the streets.
Well, when I say havoc, I mean peacefully snoozing in the middle of the road of a national park.
Kruger visitors that tourists do not normally see. #SALockdown This lion pride are usually resident on Kempiana Contractual Park, an area Kruger tourists do not see. This afternoon they were lying on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Camp.
:camera_with_flash:Section Ranger Richard Sowry pic.twitter.com/jFUBAWvmsA
- Kruger National Park (@SANParksKNP) April 15, 2020
The lions were spotted having some downtime at Kruger National Park, where they had decided the normally-busy road would make the perfect spot for a nap in the afternoon sun - making the most of a tourist-free space.
Kruger National Park spokesperson Isaac Phaahla told CBS News: "They are nocturnal animals and it is not unusual for them to sleep during the day, what is unusual is the utilisation of the tarred road because normally if there is traffic, they would not be using the tarred road."
Photos of the dozing animals were uploaded by the Park's social media team after being snapped by Section Ranger Richard Sowry.
Sowry told BBC News that he was desperate to get closer to the lions, however he knew they would scamper off if they saw him approaching.
"Lions are used to people in vehicles," he said.
"All animals have much more of an instinctive fear of people on foot, so if I had walked up they would never have allowed me to get so close."
Featured Image Credit: Seine-Maritime Prefecture