MANAUS, Brazil — A jaguar that was part of an Olympic torch relay event on Monday was shot and killed after the cat escaped its handlers, the Brazilian army said in a statement.
After Juma broke free from her confinement, a team of military members and veterinarians worked to recapture the jaguar.
Despite being shot with a tranquilizer dart, the animal lunged at a soldier and, in an attempt to protect the soldier and the rest of the treatment team, the animal was killed with one pistol shot.
The torch relay stopped at the Jungle Warfare Instruction Center Zoo in Manaus on Monday morning.
Photos of the event show the animal in a collar and held by heavy chains lying on the ground. Nearby a man kneels holding the Olympic torch.
‘We made a mistake’
The Rio 2016 organizing committee expressed regrets.
“We made a mistake when we allowed the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and union of different people, to be exhibited next to a chained wild animal,” the committee said in a statement.
“This scene contradicts our beliefs and values. We are very saddened by what happened after the torch relay and guarantee we will not witness any other situation like this one during the Rio 2016 Games.”
Jaguars are considered a near-threatened species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. It is the largest cat in the Americas.