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Is it a lion? Is it a cougar? Police say it's neither

No evidence of big cats has been found despite 'sightings' in Mayenne and Manche departments 

There is no ongoing 'big cat hunt' in northwest France, authorities have insisted.

Over the past 10 days, media have reported that police in Mayenne are searching for a big cat following a reported sighting of what may have been a young male lion or a lioness between the town of Laval and the village of Vaiges, west of Le Mans.

Despite repeated statements from officials saying that no evidence of such an animal on the loose has been found, reports have continued, with some speculating that the creature is, in fact, a smaller but similarly coloured cougar.

"No search has been organised. There is no lion in Mayenne, no puma for that matter," the prefecture of Laval told news website 20minutes on Monday, following the latest reports.

The prefect of neighbouring Manche department, however, urged caution following reported sightings of a large cat.

Police, firefighters and a vet armed with a tranquiliser dart searched the area of the sighting around La Colombe but found no evidence of a mysterious animal on the prowl.

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