Reports of a tiger roaming the streets of the city’s 15th arrondissement emerged shortly before 6pm local time. “Traffic is interrupted on the T3a line because of the presence of a tiger, belonging to a nearby circus,” the T3a tramway line operator suddenly confirmed.
“At first, we thought it was a technical incident,” a passenger on the tram told France Info. “Then the driver told us it was a tiger. Naturally, we wondered what was going on.”
“It was a big tiger,” said another witness. “We freaked out because it happened when we were leaving work. We saw it running. It’s really sad.”
Armed police and firefighters quickly arrived at the scene, but gunshots rang out into the night before they figured out their containment plan.
The animal was “neutralized” near the Garigliano bridge over the River Seine, about 2 kilometers from the Eiffel Tower, according to AP. Paris police confirmed that “all danger has been averted” after the tiger was killed by one of the circus’ staff. By 6:30pm the tramway traffic was brought back to normal.
“The owner was in shock. When we arrived the 200-kilogram tiger was already dead,” Valerian Fuet, a spokesman for the firefighters, told AFP. The owner, who was not named, was taken into custody while authorities launched an investigation into the incident, according to a police source.
The tiger escaped from the Bormann Circus, which had been preparing for several upcoming performances in December. The animal’s killing prompted outrage on social media.
“Without a tiger in the circus, this kind of problem would not arise,” wrote Olivier Peru.
“The sad life of a tiger prisoner of a circus, who tries to escape from his miserable life and who ends up coldly shot,”added Maxime Riou.
Just a few days ago, a journalist from the Libération newspaper spotted three circus tigers being held in a cage nearby, and spoke out against their conditions. On Friday, she again posted a picture of the tigers, one of which is now dead.
“We must react immediately and ban this exploitation of wild animals reduced to slavery,” said the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, founded by the famous French actress who became a prominent animal rights activist. “It’s a miracle that there weren’t any human victims this time.”
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