Before the wolf, these unusual stories of bears, panthers and llamas in the Breton countryside

1/The Ploézal bear

Twenty-five years later, this mystery still unties tongues in the Trégorroise countryside. Between the end of August and the end of September 1997, no less than six witnesses claimed to have encountered a brown bear in Ploézal (22). Three tourists saw him standing on his hind legs in a field. A motorist had to swerve to avoid it on a bend. And two residents attest that he pointed his muzzle in front of their home. The police are taking the matter very seriously. Two beats are organized. But the plantigrade does not come out of the woods.

Was it this huge female dog (60 to 70 cm at the withers) of the cortal griffon breed found dead in a ditch on October 15? No one will ever know. The reports have ceased. However, the bear still runs, once a year, in November. In memory of the supposed plantigrade, a disguised nature trail has since been organized, in the undergrowth, from Tréguier to La Roche-Jagu. Its name: the 13 km of the Bear… of (c) ourse!

25 years after a plantigrade was reported in the Trégorroise countryside, the bear still runs, once a year, between Tréguier and La Roche-Jagu (22) (Charles Nicolas archive photo)

2/The panthers of Squiffiec (22) and Pont-Scorff (56)

Not far from there, a black panther was reported in the fall of 2011 in Squiffiec (22) by two successive witnesses. Specimen escaped from a circus? Runaway domesticated feline? Research is undertaken by the services of the National Office for Hunting and Wild Fauna. Laying down meat bait, cameras with night shots… But the animal with the “big bright eyes” never reappears. Was it just a big cat, like this “tiger” authenticated by the prefectural authorities and patiently tracked down in November 2014, in Seine-et-Marne? More than 200 gendarmes and police had set off after him, in vain.

A real panther – snow, that one – nevertheless experienced twelve days on the run in the Breton countryside, after the hurricane of 1987. Resident of the zoo of Pont-Scorff (56), the beauty had taken advantage of a breach – 80% of the facilities were on land – to afford a tourist trip. Reported to Hennebont (56), Lanester (56), Quimperlé (29), Tensing had finally been found, starving, in a garden, 800 m from the park. A few months later, she had given birth to the first babies of her species to be born in France.

3/ A lion in Plobannalec-Lesconil (29), a feline in Landéda (29)

Panic, in August 2010, in Pays Bigouden, after a holidaymaker claimed to have seen a quadruped far too big to be a cat. The presence of two nearby circuses finally convinced the gendarmes to patrol all of Plobannalec-Lesconil (29). Until they discovered that a local resident had a cat with measurements well above average. Rebelote, early September 2018: a large spotted animal is reported in the town of Landéda (29). Five patrols go through the town with a fine-toothed comb. No hyena on the horizon, nor anything resembling it.

Brittany does not have a monopoly on wandering ghost beasts. The wanderings of an adventurous lioness fascinated the inhabitants of Mayenne, in July 2017, before falling into oblivion. More than 200 gendarmes and police officers also set off after an alleged tiger in 2014 in Seine-et-Marne. A terrifying feline that was, in all likelihood, just a harmless forest tomcat.

4/The bigleux alpaca of Hennebont

A resident of Cléder (29) thought she was blind when she came face to face with a llama in early September 2016 in her garden. The animal, wearing a halter, had run away from its owner, a resident of the neighboring town of Plouescat.

He made people talk about him in Hennebont (56) and even in the English tabloids, when he entered an optician's shop in January 2019. The runaway alpaca was that of the priest, who presents us with his
He made people talk about him in Hennebont (56) and even in the English tabloids, when he entered an optician’s shop in January 2019. The runaway alpaca was that of the priest, who introduces us to his little protege (Le Telegram/Sophie Prévost)

More surprising, the noticed intrusion of an alpaca in the shop of an optician in Hennebont (56), in January 2019. Devil, did this camelid want to buy glasses? Nay! Sabactani was in fact the young protege (seven months) of the parish priest, Ronan Graziana. The animal had overcome the fence of its enclosure in the presbytery where it had taken up residence the day before! The story does not say if he was trying to escape confession. The journey of the bigleux alpaca (if not bigoted) has in any case made the rounds of social networks!

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