A circus tiger has been shot dead by its owner after escaping into the streets of Paris, affecting public transport and bringing emergency services rushing to the area.
Firefighters were called shortly before 4:00 pm by people who saw the 200kg animal wandering around the 15th arrondissement in the south-west of the French capital near the office of France Televisions.
As the story spread on social media, Paris’s transport authority briefly suspended traffic on a tram line in the area.
“The owner was in shock. When we arrived the 200kg tiger was already dead,” said Valerian Fuet, a spokesman for the firefighters.
The animal was shot in an alley, he said, “it was not in the street, there were no passers-by”. The owner was taken away by the police questioning, while the body of the tiger was to being taken away for an autopsy. A police investigation was opened.
The tiger had escaped from the Bormann-Moreno circus, which recently moved to the area and planned to open its doors to the public on 3 December.
The Brigitte Bardot Foundation, founded by the actor turned animal rights activist, expressed horror and called on the ecology minister to ban the use of animals in circuses. “It’s a miracle that there weren’t any human victims this time,” the group said.