MANAUS, BRAZIL – The jaguar escaped its handlers during Monday’s ceremony, Reuters reported. They shot the animal with tranquilizers first, and it was later shot and killed.
A jaguar has been shot dead in Brazil, shortly after appearing in a torch relay ceremony to promote the upcoming Olympics.
The animal, called Juma, had been photographed with the flame as it passed through a zoo in the Amazonian city of Manaus.
Soon after the event finished, the jaguar escaped her leash and tried to attack a soldier.
Four tranquiliser darts failed to slow Juma down, prompting the soldier to fire the single pistol shot which killed her.
The committee organising this summer’s Rio Games said they were “very unhappy” that the 17-year-old animal, who had been raised in captivity since she was a cub, had died.
“We made a mistake in permitting the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and unity, to be exhibited along a chained wild animal. This image goes against our beliefs and our values,” the committee said in a statement.
“We guarantee that there will be no more such incidents at Rio 2016.”
Local government officials have said it was illegal for the jaguar to appear at the event altogether, and are launching an investigation into the incident.
Animal rights groups have condemned Juma’s death, and questioned why she was involved in the torch relay event in the first place.
The Rio-based Animal Freedom Union wrote on Facebook: “When will people (and institutions) stop with this sick need to show power and control by confiding, taming and showcasing wild animals?”
Meanwhile, American organisation PETA added: “Wild animals held captive and forced to do things that are frightening, sometimes painful and always unnatural are ticking time bombs – our actions put them and humans at risk.”