You know how every so often a ‘Big Cat sighting’ will hit the headlines and we’ll all get a bit excited until we see the photos and it’s fairly obvious that it’s just a slightly larger domestic moggy out and about minding its own business?
Well, this story isn’t like that at all, because an actual legit black panther was spotting prowling around the rooftops of a French town.
Emergency services were called out to Armentières, near Lille, after reports of the animal walking around a residential building.
The panther, which was around the size of a Labrador, ‘would stop to watch a nearby train go by or to stare fixedly at a cat running down the street’ witnessed said.
According to French media, the panther climbed down some stairs in the building before entering an apartment inside which was a 15-year-old girl. Understandably, upon seeing the Big Cat walk into the room, the girl fled.
However, the panther, which weighed around 20kg (45lb) and is about five or six months old, wasn’t aggressive.
Kader Laghouati, from the Animal Protection League, told La Vix du Nord newspaper that the animal appeared to be domesticated by its owner and showed no signs of aggression. Its claws had been clipped and a vet who checked it over said it was in good health.
Eventually, a vet was able to shoot the animal with a tranquilliser and it was placed into a cage before being handed over to the Animal Protection League.
Local media reports that the animal has since been transferred to a zoo.
Cops say they are keen to speak to the owner for endangering others and to find out where the animal came from.
Wildlife officials also want a word with the owner, so they can determine what conditions the panther was kept in.
A source close to police in the area told the newspaper that an individual would not be able to obtain a permit to keep a panther.
A police officer said: “After 20 years on the force, I have never seen anything like it. A snake, sure. But not a big cat like this.”