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Black panther stolen from a French zoo

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LILLE, France (Reuters) – A young black panther that escaped last week and was seen prowling the rooftops of a northern French town has been stolen from the zoo where it was held after being recaptured, police and city officials said on Tuesday.

Staff of the Maubeuge zoo noticed when they arrived for work that the security door of the feline’s pen had been forced open, the officials said. Police are checking footage from the zoo’s video surveillance system.

The panther caused panic last week in Armentieres, a town close to the Belgian border, when it was spotted walking on a roof.

The feline had been able to slip out after its owner, a private individual who had been keeping the panther in their home, had left a window open. The owner is wanted by police for keeping a dangerous animal in a private residence.

After the escape, the fire brigade managed to catch the panther, and it was subsequently transferred to the Maubeuge zoo. The animal is a six-month old female, according to a local animal protection organisation.

(Reporting by Pierre Savary; Writing by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Christian Lowe)

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