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Furious French chickens team up to henpeck fox to death

Chickens in a poultry farm in northwest France are suspected of killing a fox who tried to sneak into their coop.

Furious French chickens team up to henpeck fox to death
Photo: AFP
The young predator is thought to have entered the henhouse at an agricultural school at dusk last week and become trapped inside by light-controlled automatic hatch doors that close when the sun goes down. 
   
Students at Le Gros Chene school in Brittany discovered the body of the animal when making their rounds to check on the chickens the following morning.
   
“There, in the corner, we found this dead fox,” Pascal Daniel, head of farming at the school, told the AFP. “There was a herd instinct and they attacked him with their beaks.”
   
The free-range, organic farm where the incident took place has a chicken coop that is open all day, and the hens spend most of the daytime outside unless they're laying eggs.
   
The last time a fox visited one of the school's chicken coops, more than a year ago, it turned out much worse for the hens, said Daniel.

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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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