Black panther stolen from zoo after being rescued from rooftops in French town

‘The animal was the only target,’ says town mayor

Zamira Rahim@ZamiraRahim
Tuesday 24 September 2019 17:22
The panther is a six-month-old female
The panther is a six-month-old female

A black panther which caused panic after escaping in a northern French town last week has been stolen from the zoo it was taken to after being recaptured.

The animal was kept as a pet by a resident in Armentieres, a town close to the Belgian border.

It escaped out of an open window and was seen prowling across the town’s rooftops on Friday.

Eventually the animal was captured and tranquillised by the fire brigade.

It was then taken to Maubeuge zoo.

Staff at the zoo arrived on Tuesday to discover the animal had been stolen.

Its pen had been forced open by intruders.

“The animal was the only target,” said Arnaud Decagny, the town’s mayor, according to the AFP news agency.

Mr Decagny added that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Police officers are checking footage from the zoo’s CCTV system.

A local animal protection organisation said the panther was a six month old female.

During its initial escape, the animal attracted a crowd of residents as it prowled across the town’s roofs.

Dozens of people ringed the row of houses to watch the panther explore the rooftops, forcing emergency workers to erect a cordon.

“She is beautiful, wonderful to see in real life,” one resident told La Voix du Nord newspaper.

The zoo’s staff are concerned about the young animal’s health, as it lacks strength.

The animal’s owner is on the run and is wanted by detectives for keeping a dangerous animal in a private residence.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Additional reporting by agencies

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments