Black panther spotted in Luxembourg

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A black panther sighted in northeast France several weeks ago, and last seen in Belgium in September, was possibly spotted in neighbouring Luxembourg over the weekend, according to police.

LUXEMBOURG - "Police were alerted Sunday at 3:30 pm (1430 GMT) by a lady who saw a black panther in an industrial zone in Bascharage," a small community in southwest Luxembourg, spokesman Vic Reuter said.

"We sent out several patrols with dog handlers, and a police helicopter with a thermal camera searched for several hours but we couldn't find anything," he said, adding that the hunt was abandoned in the late afternoon.

He said police were taking the sighting "very seriously", given that a similar animal had been seen in the Ardennes region not far away in Belgium.

The panther hunt began on August 24, when a large wild cat was first spotted by hikers in woods in the Meurthe-et-Moselle region of northeast France.

Tracks at the site were found to be those of a "great cat, probably a black panther," according to French hunting and wild fauna office (ONCFS).

Around a dozen further sightings occured in France, including one by a natural sciences teacher which was thought to be very credible.

No circuses or zoos have reported such an animal missing, and officials believe the cat might have been raised by a person living in the area.


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