AN escaped black PANTHER sent shockwaves through a French town today after it was seen roaming rooftops.
The big cat prowled the streets of Armentieres, near Lille, before being captured by authorities.
The black panther is seen roaming the rooftops in a small French town today[/caption]
According to reports, the beast’s owner is still being hunted by cops.
Witness Victor Lefranc tweeted: “Imagine relaxing at home in Armentieres and a black panther passes in front of the window.”
He posted a video of the beast after she escaped from her owner, who has not been named, on Wednesday evening.
“The Panther was calm and clearly well domesticated, but still considered a danger,” said a security source involved in the recapture operation.
‘It took two hours to get her in a position where she could be trapped, and then a vet used a gun to fire a hypodermic tranquiliser at the animal as it tried to climb into a window.
‘She was taken to an animal refuge centre and is in good shape. Her owner is known to police, but has gone on the run.’
There was no chip on the Panther, or registration documents associated with her, suggesting she was ‘a black market animal who had been trafficked into France illegally,’ said the source.
Detectives said they found an oversize dog basket and food which was clearly set out for the Panther in a nearby house.
The Panther was on Thursday at the Protestant League of Lille (LPA) shelter in the city, where she spent the night in a blacked out cage aimed at reducing stress.
‘She’s quite young,’ said an LPA spokesman. ‘She’s like Labrador.’
The spokesman said there were signs that the animal’s claws had been illegally cut down, to avoid her hurting anyone.
‘She would have difficulty feeding and climbing trees because of this,’ said the spokesman, adding: ‘But she was otherwise healthy, with a good coat.’
The LPA has now contacted the zoo in nearby Maubeuge, in the hope that she can find a new home there.
One local policeman told the Voix du Nord (Voice of the North) newspaper: ‘In twenty years of working, I have never seen anything like it. A snake, yes. But not a big cat like that.’
A Black Panther is not a species, but a reference to the colour of types of leopards of jaguars.
The blackness is caused by the agouti gene, which regulates the distribution of black pigment within the hair shaft.
The gene is most common in leopards from Africa and Asia, and in jaguars from South America.
Those who appear in countries such as France and Britain are invariably zoo escapees or released pets that had been held illegally, possibly because they became too difficult to manage.
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