Capturing escaped bulls operation in France a success
Mounted cattle-herders and gendarmes hunted the bulls in a sunflower field with orders to bring them in dead or alive by the end of the day.1 August 2008
MAILLANE - Mounted cattle-herders and gendarmes hunted escaped bulls in a sunflower field in southern France Thursday with orders to bring them in dead or alive by the end of the day.
"This is the final operation. The bulls not captured by this evening will be shot," said departmental governor Michel Sappin as he oversaw the departure of the team hunting down the 15 black beasts in the Alpilles hills of Provence.
By the end of the afternoon the death sentence had been lifted with all but four recaptured and the remainder located, Sappin's deputy Jacques Simmonet said, calling the operation a success.
The horned Camargue bulls - weighing upwards of 200 kilos (440 pounds) and reared for use in bull-running festivals - were the remnants of a herd of 48 that escaped last Saturday after vandals apparently tore down fences enclosing them.
Herders and police had been slowly capturing the bulls alive all week, after one was shot dead late Saturday when it approached a village.
But a diehard group took refuge in a 40-hectare sunflower field where they were hidden from view by the tall plants.
Local authorities have decided to bring the incident to a swift end due to the danger to locals and the many tourists visiting the picturesque region.
Forty cattle-herders on horseback equipped with hypodermic syringes, 30 gendarmes and 15 firefighters worked their way through the sunflower field Thursday to flush out the animals.
A spotter plane was also used to help them locate their prey.
[AFP / Expatica]