A man suspected of owning a black panther, which was rescued from rooftops near the northern French city of Lille two weeks ago and later stolen from a zoo, was questioned by police on Tuesday.
The young animal, thought to be around six months old and weighing 25-30 kilogrammes (55-66 pounds), had roamed free on September 19 after escaping through the window of a private apartment.
The ink-black feline was tranquilised with a dart and taken away in a cage.
The man is suspected of having illegally acquired the big cat, a protected species, and to have cut off its claws, according to the prosecutor’s office in the city of Lille.
He is also suspected of illegally running a business exploiting a “non-domestic” animal or parts of it.
Last month, images of the black panther were plastered across newspaper front pages after it was rescued from rooftops only to be stolen from a zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border.
The police were looking for the suspect, but the man handed himself to the cops on the advice of his lawyers.
The panther will be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that have been domesticated.
The panther was supposedly weak and lacked strength.
Source : Various