Jaguar used in Rio 2016 Olympic ceremony shot in Brazil

Juma the jaguar was shot to death after he tried to attack a soldier after the ceremonies at the Jungle Warfare Instruction Center were concluded.

By: AP | Sao Paulo | Published: June 22, 2016 5:42:46 am
Brazilian physiotherapist Igor Simoes Andrade poses for picture next to jaguar Juma as he takes part in the Olympic Flame torch relay in Manaus Juma the jaguar was on display as part of ceremonies at the Jungle Warfare Instruction Center in Manaus. (Source: Reuters)

A jaguar used in an Olympic torch relay ceremony was shot to death after it escaped its leash and tried to attack a soldier, the Brazilian army said Tuesday.

The army press office said that Juma the jaguar was on display as part of ceremonies Monday at the Jungle Warfare Instruction Center in Manaus.

The Olympic torch is traveling throughout Brazil leading up to the Aug. 5 opening ceremony.

“Juma was a docile animal used to living among people at the center,” the army said in a statement, adding that soon after the ceremonies ended Juma escaped from his leash and fled into the zoo maintained by the center.

When the jaguar tried to attack a soldier sent to help recapture it, handlers shot the animal with tranquilizers. That failed to stop it, so the animal was shot with a pistol in the head.

“We were wrong to allow the Olympic Torch, a symbol of peace and of the union among the peoples to be displayed alongside a wild animal in chains,” the local Olympic organizing committee said on it Facebook page.

“This scene is contrary to our beliefs and values. We are very sad with the outcome that happened after the passing of the torch. We guarantee that we will not see more situations like this in the Rio 2016 Games.”

Ibama, Brazil’s environmental protection agency, told the Amazonia Real news agency it did not authorize Juma’s presence at the event.

“It is unfortunate and sad that these animals are being exposed to events like this,” Ibama told Amazonia Real.

Diogo Lagroteria, a veterinarian and environmental analyst at Ibama, told the G1 news portal that a jaguar can never be considered a domesticated or docile animal.

“The incident happened due to the simple fact that it was a jaguar and wild animals will always be wild animals. There is no way to predict their reaction to this kind of situation.”

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