As shocking images of the dead animal bleeding heavily from its gunshot wounds started circulating on social media, people were quick to condemn the act as well as the continued presence of wild animals in circuses in France.
Circus boss and owner of the tiger Eric Bormann says he has even received death threats over the incident.
But animal rights groups including the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, One Voice and even France's League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) were among those seizing the moment to call for a ban on the presence of animals in circuses in France.
“What happened on Friday could have resulted in far more serious consequences,” Christophe Marie, spokesperson for the Brigitte Bardot Foundation told The Local.
“These animals aren't getting what they need. They're depressed because they are trapped in tight spaces and forced to do the same movements every day.”
“We are already seeing a change in society — people are starting to question the relationship between humans and animals. France must respond in the same way as other countries and ban animals from circuses altogether.”
In response to the incident, the foundation appealed to Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot, to “ban the exploitation of animals in circuses which has already happened in 13 other member states of the European Union.”
On Saturday morning French journalist and former partner of Brigitte Bardot, Allain Bougrain-Dubourg appealed to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo to “stop wild animals appearing in circuses” in the French capital.
“Do we have to wait for another tragedy?” he said.
And Mayor of of the French capital's 15th arrondissement Philippe Goujon publicly questioned the safety of circuses, saying that the Cirque Bormann-Moreno, where the animal came from, “can not be allowed” to go ahead under the circumstances.
He complained of the death threats being made against him.
“I've received death threats, it's odious, it's very serious, they say they're going to burn our circus, they'll come back at night to to kill us, that they will release the other animals,” he said.
Bormann said he killed the beast to stop it causing damage or injuring a member of the public, adding that he and his partner said that killing the animal which they had raised from a baby caused them “immense pain”.
He added that the idea of using a tranquillizer gun was quickly ruled out because of the time it takes for the sedatives to work.
Brigitte Bardot Foundation spokesperson Marie said this wasn't about judging the owner.
“I'm sure the relationship between the owner and the tiger is a complicated one,” said Marie.
“I'm positive that killing the animal was a difficult thing for him but this is about changing people's attitudes towards animals in captivity. We need to make sure wild animals are raised in the right environment,” he said.