Someone Lost Their “Pet” Black Panther and It Is Stalking a Small French Town

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Reason number 672 that humans should not own wild animals as pets: they could get loose and terrorize your neighbors (even if they’re not trying to).

No matter how nice a black panther seems, after all, it’s bound to make people nervous when it appears on the street.

Which is why I imagine the good people of Armentieres, France, were probably keen on relocating the large, black cat they glimpsed prowling along their rooftops one afternoon.

Panthers – fun fact – are really just leopards or jaguars with a genetic mutation that gives them black coats. The two species, native to Africa and Asia, and to South America respectively, are listed as “vulnerable” and “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Not so fun fact: they’re primarily threatened by human activities like development, agriculture, energy production, hunting, trapping…and the exotic pet trade.

The cat wandered in and out of a second-story window for about an hour, skirting the gutters of six different homes as it paced. Firefighters, police, and animal experts convened at the scene, deciding to cordon off the area and then approach the animal as quietly as possible so as not to spook the black panther.

When the animal went back inside, firefighters blocked the window and a vet tranquilized the cat. Experts estimate its age at around 5-6 months and its weight at 44 pounds. Manicured claws and a relatively docile demeanor suggest the feline was domesticated and likely kept as a pet.

It has been transported to a zoo in Maubeuge, about an hour outside the small town, where it will hopefully get to live a life more akin to what it would experience in the wild.

Police are currently looking for the owner of the “Panther of Armentieres.”

Don’t keep illegal pets, y’all. It’s not good for them, it’s not good for your neighbors, and when you end up getting arrested and/or fined, it won’t be good for you, either.