An animal handler on Friday shot dead his escaped circus tiger in the middle of a Paris district about a mile from the Eiffel Tower, according to French officials.
Witnesses said the animal was shot two or three times before it collapsed.
“It was a very big tiger,” a witness told Le Parisien. “We heard two or three shots and saw police going down towards the tracks” of a nearby tramway. The tramway had been shut down “because of the presence of a tiger” on the tracks the Paris transit agency said.
The 450-pound, two-year-old tiger was shot before French firefighters arrived on the scene, L’Express reported. Authorities took the tiger’s owner into custody for questioning, according to French media. He appeared to be “in shock,” said L’Express. He was being held on suspicion of putting people’s lives at risk, according to Le Parisien.
The tiger had escaped from the Bormann Moreno circus, which recently set up in the city for shows slated to begin in about a week.
The animal had been free “for some time,” according to officials. The Paris police department announced later Friday the danger to the public was over after the animal had been “neutralized.”
No one was injured by the tiger or the shooter.
Captive animals that have escaped are sometimes killed because tranquilizer darts can take too long to take effect, and the animals may put people’s lives at risk.
Some area residents, conservationists and animal right activists were outraged that the tiger had been killed and posted gruesome photos of the tiger’s body on social media, calling for an end to the use of animals in circuses and for boycotts of events that exploit animals.