Panther captured after prowling on French rooftops is STOLEN from zoo

Black panther that was captured after prowling on rooftops in French town is STOLEN from the zoo where it was being held

  • Black panther caught by firefighters after prowling rooftops in France last week 
  • Is thought animal escaped through an open window when owner was on holiday
  • Six-month old female was sent to Maubeuge zoo but was stolen this morning  
  • Armentieres’ mayor said ‘considerable efforts’ made to avoid CCTV at the zoo
  • Panther’s owner has not been found and could face jail time and 5,000-euro fine

A black panther that was seen prowling the rooftops of a northern French town last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was being held.

Staff at Maubeuge zoo noticed when they arrived for work that the security door of the feline’s pen had been forced open, officials said today.

Police are now checking CCTV footage and mayor Arnaud Decagny confirmed the animal was the only target.

The panther caused a panic last week in Armentieres, a town close to the Belgian border, when it was spotted walking along the gutters on a three-storey house.

The panther, pictured left and right, which was spotted strolling along the gutters of a house in Armentieres, northern France, last week has been stolen from a zoo where it was being kept

Firefighters, the police and a veterinarian were called to capture the animal after it managed to escape when its owner allegedly went on holiday.  

Speaking today Mr Decagny said ‘considerable efforts’ were made to force locks and avoid security systems at the zoo.

He also revealed that Zoo personnel are worried about the panther’s health ‘which is rather delicate because she lacks strength’.

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. It had been able to slip out of a window after its owner, who was believed to be on holiday at the time, had left a window open. 

The owner is wanted by police for keeping a dangerous animal in a residence. They 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, mayor Decagny said.   

After slipping inside a house and being captured by firefighters the six-month old panther, pictured, was taken to Maubeuge zoo

Staff noticed the security door of the feline’s pen had been forced open when they arrived for work this morning (pictured is Maubeuge zoo)

Last week the panther walked along the building for more than an hour before going inside through an open window and being trapped. Pictured is the panther outside 

Last week witnesses told local media that the black panther ‘would stop to watch a nearby train go by or to stare fixedly at a cat running off down the street.’ 

According to local media, the panther wandered around the block of six 1930s brick houses for about an hour. 

Every now and then it would go into a flat, through an open window, before coming back outside for more fresh air.

Sharing information on Twitter, the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service of the North said they were ‘confronted with a large cat walking on the residential gutters.’

The emergency services were called just before 6.30pm and put up a security perimeter to make sure the panther couldn’t escape.

Shortly after the National Wildlife Conservation Authority were called to try and help catch the cat. 

Firefighters managed to trap the animal after it entered an open window and a vet tranquillised the panther, pictured left and right on the gutter, with a hypodermic rifle

Witnesses said the big cat, pictured on the guttering, looked down at points at smaller felines

Making things a little easier for those on the ground, the animal entered a house and firefighters managed to trap it inside.

A veterinarian then used a hypodermic rifle to send an anesthetic dart into the panther so it could be safely taken by the Animal Protection League.  

Pictures from the scene during the standoff with the black panther show the animal wondering along the gutters and looking down at the street.

One journalist at the scene shared a video and wrote: ‘Imagine you are quiet at your house in Armentieres and there a black panther passes by your window.’ 

One person shared pictures of the panther from inside a building on the street in France

Police are expected to question the panther’s owner upon his return and the League of the Protection of Animals is looking after it. The big cat is reportedly set to be handed to a zoo

At one point the cat reached to the top of a window, appearing to test out whether a jump onto the roof was possible. 

One person posted two pictures of the cat, which is thought to weigh between 25 and 30 kilogrammes (55 and 66 lbs), walking along their gutter – making sure windows were tightly closed. 

More than a dozen people took to the streets to watch the rescue operation last Wednesday evening. 

A police man at the scene said: ‘In twenty years I have never seen that. A snake, yes. But not a big cat like that.’ 

The panther is a six-month old female, according to a local animal protection organisation.

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