Brazilian Jaguar Shot & Killed Following Olympic Torch Ceremony

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The Rio Olympics are not exactly off to a great start. A jaguar was shot and killed by a Brazilian soldier following its use in an Olympic torch ceremony in the city of Manaus.

The jaguar escaped from its handlers, was shot first with a tranquilizer and then with a killing pistol shot as it advanced on the soldier in question, Reuters reports.

Though the ceremony itself went smoothly, the jaguar apparently shook loose while being transferred back into its cage. The Amazon Military Command says that killing the jaguar was in line with its safety procedures, according to TMZ.

“We made a mistake in permitting the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and unity, to be exhibited alongside a chained wild animal,” the Manaus organizing committee 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.”

The incident is distressing for a lot of reasons, including that the jaguar is a near-threatened species and that its involvement in the event was illegal.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature tells Reuters that the jaguar has been completely wiped out in neighboring Uruguay and nearby El Salvador. Clearly this is not the species that you want to be parading around for photo opportunities. Not only that, but the state authority did not authorize the jaguar’s use in the event photos.

"No request was made to authorize the participation of the jaguar ‘Juma’ in the event of the Olympic torch," Ipaam, the state government agency that regulates the use of wild animals, said in a statement.

Animal rights groups are already outraged.

"When will people (and institutions) stop with this sick need to show power and control by confining, taming and showcasing wild animals?" a Rio de Janeiro-based animal rights group called Animal Freedom Union wrote on Facebook.
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