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US artist’s message in a bottle found in France… by an artist

A message in a bottle dropped in New York harbour in 2013 by an American painter has been found years later, and 5,700 kilometres (3,500 miles) away, on a beach in southwest France ... by a French artist.

US artist's message in a bottle found in France... by an artist
Photo: Susan Nilsson/Flickr

George Boorujy threw the bottle, containing a drawing of a cormorant and a signed letter into the harbour at Staten Island in October 2013, regional French newspaper Sud Ouest reported.

It washed up two and a half years later on a beach in the Aquitaine region of France where it was found last week by Brigitte Barthelemy, a painter, and her husband Alain who were out walking their dog Elton.

Brigitte was intrigued by the perfectly preserved drawing and the letter congratulating the finders of the bottle and jokingly asking that they did not respond with another letter in a bottle, a “very inefficient” means of communication.

In fact, Boorujy gave his email address in the letter, so Brigitte was able to make contact by more modern means.

“When I saw the email from Alain and Brigitte, I was amazed and crazy with excitement,” the French newspaper quoted the American as saying.

“And the fact that Brigitte is also a painter is extraordinary,” he said.

Boorujy hopes his bottle will help raise awareness about the protection of wild birds.

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OFFBEAT

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.

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