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That tiger on the loose in Paris is 'probably just a big cat'

At one point, 200 police and soldiers, backed by a helicopter, were searching for the ‘tiger’.

In fairness, it does just look a bit like a house cat.
In fairness, it does just look a bit like a house cat.
Image: AP Photo/Ville de Montevrain

A FRANTIC HUNT for what was believed to be a tiger has been scaled down after tracks left by the animal showed it was probably just a big cat.

Sightings of a large feline padding around wooded areas only 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of Paris on Thursday sparked a desperate search operation involving at one point as many as 200 police and soldiers, backed by a helicopter.

Authorities initially claimed it was a tiger but subsequent investigations on the animal’s tracks showed it was probably much less dangerous.

“It’s between a domestic cat and a bigger feline,” said Eric Hansen from the national hunting and wildlife office ONCFS.

The mayor of the town of Montevrain, where the animal was first spotted on Thursday, estimated that the animal weighed around 70 kilogrammes (150 pounds).

But Hansen said it was likely to be about half this weight and probably “not dangerous”.

The hunt for the animal continues, but locals are taking no chances.

France Tiger on the Loose A paw print of the animal. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Montevrain resident Jean-Francois Ameur was taking no chances as he told his 12-year-old son to wait for a neighbour to pick him up from school in a car.

“It’s been running for 48 hours and it hasn’t eaten, so yes, I’m worried,” said Ameur.

- © AFP, 2014, additional reporting by Nicky Ryan

Read: Search steps up for tiger on the loose near Disneyland Paris >

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