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Tuesday 27 September 2016

Jaguar used in Olympic ceremony shot dead

Published 22/06/2016 | 05:41

Animal rights campaigners have hit out at the incident
Animal rights campaigners have hit out at the incident

A jaguar used in an Olympic torch relay ceremony has been shot dead after it slipped its leash and tried to attack a soldier, the Brazilian army said.

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

The Olympic torch is travelling throughout Brazil leading up to the August 5 opening ceremony.

The army said: "Juma was a docile animal used to living among people at the centre," adding that soon after the ceremonies ended, Juma escaped from his leash and fled into the zoo maintained by the centre.

When the jaguar tried to attack a soldier sent to help recapture it, handlers shot the animal with tranquillisers. That failed to stop it, so the animal was killed with a pistol shot to 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 organising committee said on its 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 authorise 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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