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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 July, 2004, 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK
'Tarzan's tiger' shot in Florida
Jorge Piono of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission updates the media on the search operation
Officials had hoped the tiger would just return home
Officials in Florida have shot dead a large tiger after it escaped from a home owned by a one-time Tarzan actor.

Six-year-old Bobo had been on the run for 24 hours after getting out of the compound of actor Steve Sipek near the town of Loxahatchee, north of Miami.

Wildlife officials had hoped to use a tranquiliser dart to recapture the 600-pound (270kg) Bengal-Siberian mix.

But the big cat reportedly lunged at one of the officers and was then shot and killed.

"Our officers unfortunately had no choice but to use lethal fire," an official told reporters.

"We're very, very sad to report the tiger is deceased."

Mr Sipek - who played Tarzan in two films in 1969 and 1972 under the screen name Steve Hawkes - broke down at the news of the death.

He has long had a permit to keep exotic pets at his compound where there is another tiger, two lions, a black leopard and a puma.

Nervous residents

The tiger, whose claws had been removed but which still had its fangs, had not been considered an immediate threat to people, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Willie Puz.

"From what I'm told it's the first time it's been away from home, so it's checking to see if it's greener on the other side of the fence, I don't know," Mr Puz said.

However, nervous residents were offered an official escort out of the area as the hunt continued for the tiger.

Officials said they hoped the hungry tiger would eventually go back to his fenced home.

One neighbour even tried to help the search party by showing up with a live and screaming pig to lure Bobo, but was sent back by deputy sheriffs.


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