Yvelines. Attacks, footprints: the rumor of the wolf’s return to the Rambouillet forest revived?

A wolf photographed at the Paris Zoological Park. (© 78actu. Philippe Cohen)

What did Adrien see in a corner of the forest in the south of the Rambouillet forest massif, on September 26?
Lately, he contacted our newspaper 78 news to report specific facts to us.
This emeritus rider remembers perfectly that sunny day at the beginning of the afternoon when he was walking with two other riders between Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines and Saint-Arnoult. “Suddenly, between two forest plots, I see what does not look like a dog, an animal on the lookout which muloted, with a slender profile, ears forward, relatively young”, tells us Adrien.

“It lasted a few seconds, then the animal jumped up and disappeared. It didn’t look like a dog at all. I am used to meeting dogs in the forest who turn towards us and come towards the horse ”.

Adrien, witness rider

The riders look at each other and wonder: “It looks like a wolf,” a rider told me. I go around, go up the path with my cell phone in my hand to hope to photograph it. There was not a single master who could attest that it was a dog. On returning, I compare with other photos, the color of the coat which resembles that of a wolf “, confides the Rambolitain who knows the forest like the back of his hand:” I have been walking the forest of Rambouillet for 30 years. I realize that I had a nice meeting, rather funny that lasted only a few seconds. As I was on horseback, I went more unnoticed and the wild animal was 10 m away from me, ”says the South Yvelinese who are talking about it around them in the sector.

A young wolf who scatters?

“An acquaintance who lives in the area told me to have seen tumbling down, 3 days later a deer at bottom balloons pursued by a stealthy mass”, reports Adrien who is convinced that it was a wolf. “I know it’s very subjective but …”
Rather, he will inform “the Wolf Observatory (an independent organization which accuses the authorities of delaying in noting the presence of the wolf in certain French regions) which told me that the wolf has been in the area for 3 years more or less” . “A young wolf corresponds well to the fact that young wolves gradually disperse across France, driven out of their packs and in search of new territories,” he concludes.

Nothing to report

When questioned, Gérard, correspondent for the lynx loup network at the national level, indicated that he had not “had a report”. The wolf, however, was officially seen in Eure-et-Loir in 2019 and 2020, in Bray country in 2020 and recently in Vernon in Eure, then in Calvados this November 2021.
The Rambouillet sector, where there are many private properties, has “a host of camera traps around the plots. It would have been relatively easy to take a picture of him, ”he thinks.

On the side of the federation of hunters of Ile-de-France based in Rambouillet, we answer: “that there are no lifts”, even if there are reports such as a canine observed “there is a ten days in Blaru in the north of Yvelines ”, without knowing whether it is a Czechoslovak or Sarloos dog.

A slain ewe lamb

Besides Adrien’s testimony, the other troubling fact is the attack on a lamb in the south of Yvelines. The breeder interviewed by 78 actu speaks of an animal attacked “with the leg and found dead without having been eaten”. The French Biodiversity Office had come to the site to make the observation. But, no one knows who attacked the animal. “If it was a wolf there would be other attacks, but we haven’t had anything since. This is the first time this has happened. The last time an animal was attacked it was a stray dog, but I had seen it ”.

The breeder does not cry wolf

The breeder does not cry wolf at all. “There are a lot of stray dogs and big ones in the area”, confides a hunter who does not notice any agitation or nervousness among the deer and wild boar. “There are as many boars. However, falling on a dead deer is difficult “, he agrees, he who knows wolves for having observed them in other countries:” He has a gait that has nothing to do with a dog and everything is in the jaw , the muzzle which is completely different from the dog ”.

Two dead animals and large footprints

The goat was attacked in two places according to the photos of the breeder.
The goat was attacked in two places according to the photos of the breeder. (©DR)

Still in the south of Yvelines, another fact added to the trouble on November 19: the death of a goat and a sheep and the discovery of a canine footprint in Les Mesnuls. “I left a handrail at the Jouars gendarmerie then I went to take pictures and take the fingerprints”, testifies Matthieu, owner of goats and sheep in green pasture at various places in Yvelines.

Footprint taken by the breeder of Les Mesnuls with a width of 8 cm and 9cm in length.
Footprint taken by the breeder of Les Mesnuls with a width of 8 cm and 9cm in length. (©DR)

He warns, a photo of an imprint in support: “Friday evening in a hamlet between Les Mesnuls and the forest, my sheep and my goat were killed. I was alerted that my animals were in the pond, dead. The sheep must have drowned since I found it in the middle of the pond, as if it had taken fright. The goat was at the edge ”

“I observed a red point on the neckline and traces of fangs on the tail as if the goat had been pulled by a canine.”

Matthieu breeder in Les Mesnuls

. Why were they afraid? asks Matthieu, also a hunter. He took care to measure the prints with precision: “They are very substantial. The plantar is 5 cm wide, the total width with ball is 8 cm. The total length of 9 cm ”. When Matthew talks about it to the neighbors of the plot, he has feedback: “The neighbors’ dogs had barked for a long time in the night. A lady from the rue des Essarts told me that her horses were very restless that evening ”.

The killed goat was found at the edge of this Mesnuls pond.
The killed goat was found at the edge of this Mesnuls pond. (©DR)

Stray dog ​​or whatever, we can imagine everything

Stray dog ​​or other canine, Matthieu wants to alert. “You can imagine everything but it’s a waste to see my animals dead this way”, he confides, knowing full well that in the absence of dejection, photos and expertise, it will be very difficult to say who attacked his animals on the night of November 19, 2022. In 2017, the rumor of the wolf in the vicinity of Montfort had caused a stir. After the deaths of goats, the wolf’s trail was completely ruled out and the attack was attributed to a large dog.
In the South of Yvelines, the wolf is part of the myth. Everyone, naturalists, walkers or hunters dream of surprising him around the bends of the massif. “I knew Monsieur Thirlet’s grandson. It was his grandfather, gamekeeper in Poigny who shot the last wolf in the Rambouillet forest, ”says a former hunter. The writings of local historians report, in fact, that the last wolf was killed in 1869 at the post of Pecqueuse by a gamekeeper. Since then, no officially reported or photographed wolf in the Rambouillet forest.

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