Jaguar shot dead after Olympic torch ceremony in Brazil

Soldier’s killing of escaped big cat causes outrage among animal rights groups

The Olympic torch   ceremony in Manaus, northern Brazil,  featuring the  jaguar,   named Juma, who was   shot dead by soldiers shortly after the ceremony when   he escaped.  Photograph: Jair Araujo/AFP/Getty Images

The Olympic torch ceremony in Manaus, northern Brazil, featuring the jaguar, named Juma, who was shot dead by soldiers shortly after the ceremony when he escaped. Photograph: Jair Araujo/AFP/Getty Images

 

A jaguar featured at an Olympic torch ceremony was shot dead by a soldier shortly after the event in the Brazilian Amazon city of Manaus as the animal escaped from its handlers, an army statement said.

The jaguar was killed on Monday at a zoo attached to a military training centre where the Olympic torch ceremony was held. A soldier fired a single pistol shot when the escaped animal, despite being tranquillized, approached the soldier, the army said.

“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 said in a statement.

“We guarantee that there will be no more such incidents at Rio 2016,” the committee added.

A jaguar caricature known as Ginga is the mascot of the Brazilian Olympic team.

The jaguar is a near-threatened species that is already extinct in Uruguay and El Salvador, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Flawed policy

“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,” Brittany Peet, director of captive animal law enforcement at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), said in a statement.

In Brazil, the Rio de Janeiro-based animal rights group Animal Freedom Union asked the same question.

“When will people (and institutions) stop with this sick need to show power and control by confining, taming and showcasing wild animals?” it said on its Facebook page.

“This needs to stop,” tweeted Animal Justice, a Canadian animal law organization.

The use of Juma, as the jaguar was known, at the event was also illegal, according to Ipaam, the Amazonas state government environmental authority that oversees the use of wild animals.

“No request was made to authorise the participation of the jaguar ‘Juma’ in the event of the Olympic torch,” Ipaam said in a statement.

Ipaam added it is investigating the incident.

– (Reuters)