Wolves 'at the door of Paris' for the first time in 100 years

Wolves spotted in Paris commuter belt as packs spread across France.

European grey wolves are pictured in the animal park of Sainte-Croix, in Rhodes, eastern FranceGetty Images

Wolves have been spotted near Paris for the first time in more than 100 years, scientists have said.

"The wolf is at the door of Paris," Jean-Luc Valérie, chairman of L'Observatoire du Loup (The Observatory of the Wolf), told the Times.

He said that the wolves had been spotted in parts of the Paris commuter belt, including the forests of Rambouillet to the west of the capital and the fields to the east.

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Valérie said the wolves were probably tracking prey from their territory amid the vineyards of Champagne, and expected a pack to form a base in the Paris region within the next few years.

Packs of wolves once roamed freely throughout France, but by the 1930s they had been hunted to near-extinction. In 1992 wolves were spotted for the first time in France again, as they crossed in the French Alpine region from Switzerland, where they have protected status.

Since then Eurasian Grey Wolves wolves have begun to spread again across France to the fury of farmers, who blame them for killing 9,000 livestock a year. According to government estimates, thgere are about 300 wild wolves in France.

Experts say the threat to humans from wolves is minimal, as wolves are fearful of man and try to avoid him.

Under French law licensed hunters can be granted a special permit to shoot wolves if livestock is threatened, despite the animals being protected. However farmers claim too few of the predators are being killed.

According to Euractiv, France is to convene a series of specialist workshops to assess how to best manage the country's wolf population and protect livestock.

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