Rio Olympics: Jaguar shot dead after torch relay
Animal rights activists condemn 'unnatural' use of big cat Juma in Brazil procession
A jaguar who was the starring attraction of the Olympic torch relay in Brazil was shot dead shortly after the procession.
Juma, a 17-year-old female, was taken from her enclosure in a military-run zoo in the northern city of Manaus to feature in the Amazonian leg of the relay on Monday.
She was photographed in front of two runners while the Olympic flame was passed from one to the other.
However, after the ceremony, she managed to escape and attack a soldier, despite having been secured with a chain and supervised by two handlers in military uniform.
"It escaped and ran off as it was being moved from one area to another in the zoo," Colonel Luiz Gustavo Evelyn said, reports Daily Telegraph.
Attempts were made to subdue the jaguar with a tranquiliser gun. But when four darts failed to have any impact, a serviceman drew his pistol and shot her dead.
Activists condemned the decision to involve the captive feline in the proceedings.
"When will we learn? Wild animals held captive and forced to do things that are frightening, sometimes painful, and always unnatural are ticking time bombs," said Brittany Peet, of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
The organisers later said they had been wrong to involve a live animal in the event.
"We made a mistake in permitting the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and unity, to be exhibited alongside a chained wild animal," the Rio 2016 committee said in a statement. "This image goes against our beliefs and our values."