Summer Olympics 2016 marks first death as jaguar used in torch relay killed by solider

This is heartbreaking and in our opinion a completely senseless death.

An Amazonian jaguar featured in a torch ceremony for the upcoming Summer Games in Brazil was shot and killed by a solider.

The jaguar had been chained up and exhibited during a torch ceremony. After the ceremony, as the tiger was being taken to a vehicle, it somehow escaped from its handlers at a zoo attached to an army training centre in Manaus, according to a statement from Brazil’s military.

Animal Freedom Union, a Brazil-based animal rights group described what happened:

This is JUMA! A jaguar and one of the most beautiful and majestic animals you will ever see. The top photo was right before she was killed as she was being used as a ‘prop’ , a ‘mascot’ if you will for the torch lighting ceremony in Brazil for the upcoming #rioolympics2016 . As they were taking her back to her vehicle, she slipped out of the chains around her and was darted immediately. Still moving, another officer made a fatal shot to end her beautiful life.

The AFU, which is based in Rio de Janeiro, wrote that people and institutions have a “sick need to show power and control by confining, taming and showcasing wild animals.”

n 2014, officials at the Sochi Games in Russia were criticized for rounding up stray dogs. The jaguar killed was apparently tranquilized. The big cat was reportedly approaching a soldier when the soldier fired a single shot, which killed Juma.

The incident has prompted a wave of criticism for even having the jaguar on display in the first place.

The local organizing committee for Rio 2016 said in a statement that the animal should never have been used as a prop.

“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,” the local organizing committee Rio 2016 said in a statement, adding: “We guarantee that there will be no more such incidents at Rio 2016.”

h/t: Animal Freedom Union 

Photo credit: Reuters via Huffington Post 

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