Article reserved for subscribers
On Friday, Liberation tracked down the European wild cat, in a forest in Seine-et-Marne, accompanied by a specialist from the French Office for Biodiversity.
The forest cat is there, we have seen it. Well, not him directly, because this little feline is super discreet. But we recognized him well on the photos: a somewhat stocky profile, sides without distinct markings, a thick tail streaked with beautiful black stripes at the end, and this black line drawn along the spine. All the characteristic features are there: it seems that we are indeed dealing with a Felis silvestris silvestris, a species called the forest cat or European wildcat. A genetic analysis of his body hair should confirm this.
This Friday morning, like every week for more than two months, it’s time to go out in the forest to go and find the cat “traps” in a forest in Seine-et-Marne, near Provins. The management for Ile-de-France of the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) has launched a study on the presence of this wild feline in the region. It is a fragile species, threatened by the fragmentation of its habitat, collisions with cars, the reduction of meadows (therefore mice) and hybridization with domestic cats. The first data attesting to its presence in the region date from 1990. Since then, its territory (initially concentrated in eastern France and the Pyrenees) has been expanding. We know that it dragged its hairy paws south of Seine-et-Marne, in the forest of Fontainebleau in particular, and in the north-east of Essonne, because a few individuals were seen, or even captured by mistake.