A jaguar was shot and killed following an Olympic torch ceremony at the Jungle Warfare Instruction Center in Manaus, Brazil, on Tuesday, June 21.
According to Reuters, the gorgeous jaguar, named Juma, was sedated for the event but attempted to escape back into the zoo, which is attached to the training center, after the ceremony ended. The Associated Press reports that handlers shot the feline with tranquilizers, but when that didn’t stop Juma, a solider shot and killed the animal.
The Amazon Military Command deemed the solider’s action as being in line with safety procedures, Reuters reports.
“Juma was a docile animal, used to living among people at the center,” the army said in a statement to the AP.
“We made a mistake in 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,” Rio 2016, the local organizing committee, said in a statement to Reuters. “We guarantee that there will be no more such incidents at Rio 2016.”
The mascot for the Brazilian Olympic team is a smiling jaguar called Ginga who wears yellow, green and blue, the colors of the country’s national flag.
The use of Juma at the event was also reportedly illegal. “No request was made to authorize the participation of the jaguar ‘Juma’ in the event of the Olympic torch,” Ipaam, the state of Amazonas government environmental authority, which oversees the use of wild animals, said in a statement. Reuters reports that Ipaam is now investigating the incident.
Animal activists have since spoken out about the tragedy.
“When will people (and institutions) stop with this sick need to show power and control by confining, taming and showcasing wild animals?” Rio de Janeiro animal rights group Animal Freedom Union said on its Facebook page.
The Olympic torch is currently traveling through Brazil ahead of the opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio on August 5.
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