A jaguar being featured at an Olympic torch ceremony in Brazil has been shot dead after it escaped from handlers.
According to The Mirror, Juma was killed by a soldier at a zoo in the Brazilian Amazon city of Manaus – even though reports suggest it may already have been tranquillised.
A cartoon jaguar known as Ginga is the mascot of the Brazilian Olympic team, hence the animal’s appearance at the ceremony.
The killing has caused uproar among animal rights groups, with Brittany Peet, director of captive animal law enforcement at PETA, saying:
When will we learn? 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.
Also, the Rio based animal rights group, Animal Freedom Union, posted to their Facebook page:
When will people (and institutions) stop with this sick need to show power and control by confining, taming and showcasing wild animals?Advertisement
Jaguars are a near-threatened species, extinct in large parts of South America, and according to Ipaam – the Amazon State Government Environmental Authority – the use of Juma, as the jaguar was known, at the event was actually illegal.
— NoticiasChelmevision (@NOTICIAS_chelme) May 21, 2016
The local organising committee for Rio 2016 said in a statement:
We made a mistake permitting the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and unity, to be exhibited alongside a chained wild animal.
This image goes against our beliefs and our values. We guarantee that there will be no more such incidents at Rio 2016.