Beast of Gevaudan

Intervention of the king

In February 1765 king Louis XV sent two professional wolf-hunters to Gevaudan with the task of killing the beast that was terrorizing the province. Over the next four months the pair hunted for Eurasian wolves believing them to be the beast.

However as the attacks continued, they were replaced in June 1765 by the king’s harquebus bearer and Lieutenant of the Hunt Francois Antoine. He managed to kill a grey wolf measuring 80 cm high and 1,7 m long, which is quite large for a wolf. The animal was further identified as the culprit by attack survivors who recognized the scars on its body inflicted by victims defending themselves. The wolf was stuffed and sent to Versailles where Antoine was received as a hero, receiving a large sum of money as well as titles and awards.

However on 2 December 1769, another beast severely injured two men. A dozen more deaths are reported to have followed attacks by the la Besseyre Saint Mary.

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