Rio 2016 organisers issued an apology on Tuesday after a jaguar named Juma, was shot dead to protect him from being mauled at the Olympic torch ceremony in the Amazonian city of Manaus.
A jaguar was killed by a single gun shot from a soldier when it escaped from handlers, the Brazilian army said in a statement.
The army said the soldier was forced to shoot down the animal to protect him from being mauled, Xinhua reported.
“We made a mistake in permitting the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and unity, to be exhibited alongside a chained wild animal,” Rio 2016 said in a statement.
“This image goes against our beliefs and our values. We guarantee that there will be no more such incidents at Rio 2016.”Animal rights groups raised questions, why Juma was used in the ceremony. Moments before being fatally wounded, the animal featured in photographs alongside the Olympic torch while shackled by chains.
“When will people (and institutions) stop with this sick need to show power and control by confining, taming and showcasing wild animals?” Brazilian animal rights group Animal Freedom Union said on Facebook.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the jaguar is an endangered species in the Americas. It’s population has decreased by 30 per cent since the mid-1980s.
Ipaam, Brazil’s Amazonas state environmental authority, said it had launched a probe in the incident.
“No request was made to authorise the participation of the jaguar ‘Juma’ in the event of the Olympic torch,” Ipaam said in a statement.