The black panther that was spotted last week climbing rooftops in a Northern French town was kidnapped from the zoo where she had been transferred, city authorities said on Tuesday.
The animal had climbed a gutter and entered a dwelling in Armentières, France last week before firefighters were able to tranquilise her and transfer her to an animal protection organisation.
The panther was kidnapped overnight from a zoo in Maubeuge, France, the city said, adding that there was no evidence of a "break-in" at the entrance or exit of the zoo but that six security points in the animal's pen had been broken into.
The zoo discovered that the black panther was missing at 8:00 am CEST on Tuesday (September 24), and police were on the scene to investigate and analyse surveillance video.
The city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, posted on Facebook that the kidnappers clearly "aimed to remove only the feline".
The animals' caretakers said they were "in shock and concerned for the health of the animal," the city said. She was due to be transferred to an animal sanctuary on Wednesday.
"I hope that the investigation will have a positive and fast outcome," Decagny said.
The young animal had been transferred from the Animal Protection League near Armentières to a zoological park in Maubeuge, France on Thursday.
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.