A black panther was spotted prowling rooftops in a town in northern France.
Firefighters said they received a call around 6pm local time on Wednesday to reports of a large feline wandering on the gutter of a residential building in Armentières, a town close to the French border with Belgium.
They trapped the animal after it entered a dwelling. A veterinarian shot the animal with an anaesthetic to make it fall asleep.
Firefighters then transported the animal in a cage to a local animal protection organisation.
The animal had been kept illegally at the home of an individual, the prefecture in Northern France told AFP. The prefecture did not immediately respond to a Euronews inquiry about the state of the investigation.
"We felt that the animal was afraid to be in this position," said eyewitness Anton, who lives two streets away from where the animal was spotted.
Anton told Euronews he arrived at the scene as the police were setting up a security perimeter and sensed that officers were at a loss for how to manage the situation.
"I was rather saddened to find that people had such an animal in such a small house," Anton said.
The local newspaper "La Voix du Nord" reported the animal entered a house and came face to face with a 15-year-old girl, who managed to escape.
The Northern League for the Protection of Animals said in a video posted to Facebook that they believe the animal is a young female. They said it is illegal to keep a black leopard domestically as it is considered a wild animal.
On Thursday, the animal was transferred to an adapted zoo.
"Our little extraordinary boarder went off in the morning to a zoological park able to welcome her in better conditions. A new life begins for her!" the Animal Protection League wrote on Facebook Thursday morning.
The term black panther is most frequently applied to either black-coated leopards or jaguars.
Leopards are considered vulnerable species and jaguars are considered near threatened, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List of Threatened Species.