A tiger that escaped from a circus in Paris today was shot dead by the owner, who was then taken into custody, French police said.

Firefighters were called shortly before 5pm by people who saw the 200kg animal wandering around the 15th arrondissement in the southwest 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 tiger escaped from the Cirque Bormann-Moreno, which had just moved to the area and planned to open its doors to the public on 3 December.

"The owner was in shock. When we arrived the 200kg tiger was already dead," Valerian Fuet, a spokesman for the firefighters, said.

The animal was shot in an alley, he said, "it was not in the street, there were no passers-by".

After the incident Paris police wrote on Twitter that the risk had passed.

The owner was taken into custody after the event, according to a police source. A police investigation has been opened into the incident.

Mr Fuet said the body must be either taken back to the circus or to a clinic for an post mortem.