Recaptured wondering black panther stolen from French zoo

pantherImage copyright France fire service
Image caption The panther was last week seen walking on a roof in Armentières before being caught by the local fire brigade

A black panther recaptured last week after prowling the roofs of a northern French town has been stolen from the zoo where it was held, officials say.

Zoo employees in Maubeuge found the gate of the feline's pen broken when they arrived for work on Tuesday.

Last Wednesday, astonished residents in the town of Armentières gazed at the animal walking on a roof.

The animal, a six-month-old female, was caught by the fire brigade after escaping the home of her private owner.

A vet was then able to tranquilise it with a dart. The panther, weighing about 20kg (45lb), was then moved to the Maubeuge Zoo.

It had been domesticated by its owner and was not at all aggressive, Kader Laghouati from the Animal Protection League organisation in Lille told La Voix du Nord newspaper.

The animal's claws had been clipped and it was in good health, he added.

The owner – whose name has not been revealed – is now being sought by the French authorities for endangering the lives of local residents.

An investigation into the panther's disappearance from the zoo is under way, with police analysing CCTV footage.

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Media captionA black bear takes a nap in a hotel bathroom

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