One million bees killed in French road crash

An estimated one million honeybees were killed after the vehicle that was transporting them crashed into a car in southern France. However tens of thousands survived only to attack emergency rescue teams.

One million bees killed in French road crash
The honeybees drowned in their own supply of unprocessed honey. Photo: Autan/Flickr
The crash occurred on Tuesday when a van was transporting 72 beehive frames, each containing around 20,000 bees, reported French newspaper La Dépêche
On a road in the southern town of Saussenac, the van smashed into a car, crushing most of  the hives.
As the honey inside the frames was still in the liquid stage and yet to be processed by the bees, the vast majority of the colonies became stuck in their own supply of nectar.
Beekeeper Dominique Miras told the paper that the bees were "glued into a kind of puree". 
Several thousands of the insects are believed to have flown to safety, and hives have been set up by the roadside in an attempt to lure them back. 
But with an estimated 1 million or more believed to have died, the damage is already done. 
Miras reckoned he was at a loss of around €7,000 due to broken equipment, not to mention the damage to the van and the serious hit to his profits from the irretrievable honey harvest.
With the rescue teams forced to work through swarms of agitated bees, both drivers were able to escape with only minor injuries.

(The honey supply was still at liquid stage. Photo: David Illig/Flickr)

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France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.