Panther stolen from zoo after rescue from French rooftops

Published September 28, 2019, 5:15 PM

by Dhel Nazario, Jeffrey G. Damicog, and Rey G. Panaligan

By Agence France-Presse

It appears to be France’s most coveted cat.

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

A handout image made available by the Sapeurs-pompiers du Nord on September 19, 2019, shows a Black Panther walking along the roof guttering of a building in Armentières, northern France early evening on September 18, 2019. - The big cat, owned illegally by a private individual, was captured as it "wandered" on the roof of a residential building like an ordinary gutter cat, French firefighters said. (Photo by HO / Sapeurs-pompiers du Nord / AFP)
A handout image made available by the Sapeurs-pompiers du Nord on September 19, 2019, shows a Black Panther walking along the roof guttering of a building in Armentières, northern France early evening on September 18, 2019. (Photo by HO / Sapeurs-pompiers du Nord / AFP)

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city’s mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther’s health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30 kilogrammes (55-66 pounds).

A handout image made available by the Ligue Protectrice des Animaux du Nord de la France (LPA-NF) on September 19, 2019, shows a Black Panther after it was captured by French firefighters wandering along the roof guttering of a building in Armentières, northern France on September 18, 2019. - The big cat, owned illegally by a private individual, was captured as it "wandered" on the roof of a residential building like an ordinary gutter cat, French firefighters said. (Photo by Cristina DEVULDER / Ligue protectrice des animaux du Nord de la France / AFP)
A handout image made available by the Ligue Protectrice des Animaux du Nord de la France (LPA-NF) on September 19, 2019, shows a Black Panther after it was captured by French firefighters wandering along the roof guttering of a building in Armentières, northern France on September 18, 2019. (Photo by Cristina DEVULDER / Ligue protectrice des animaux du Nord de la France / AFP)

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther’s owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and 15,000 euros ($16,500) in fines, Decagny said.

 

 
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