Police looking for escaped mountain lion in northern France

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PARIS, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Police are looking for an escaped big feline in northern France and local authorities said they have given permission to shoot the animal on sight.

French media reported that the animal is a North American mountain lion, but it is not certain what kind of feline it is or how it ended up loose in the countryside.

The prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais region said in a statement on Twitter that a big feline had been spotted several times between the municipalities of Frevent and Auxi-le-Chateau and that police and wildlife specialists had found tracks of a big cat. It has given permission to wildlife authorities to shoot the animal.

A petition on Change.org to save the animal's life has gathered more than 35,000 signatures. It said the animal is believed to be an American puma.

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Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Sandra Maler

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