A jaguar featured at an Olympic torch ceremony was shot dead Monday by a soldier shortly after the event in the Brazilian Amazon city of Manaus as the animal escaped from its handlers, an army statement said.
The animal, called Juma, had been raised in the zoo in the Amazon since it was a cub along with half-a-dozen siblings.
In a statement, the local organizing committee Rio 2016 said that they had made a mistake in permitting the Olympic torch, a symbol peace and unity, to be exhibited alongside a chained wild animal. He further stated that it goes against their beliefs and values.
The shooting caused uproar among animal rights groups, which pointed to the recent killing of a gorilla at a Cincinnati zoo and alligators at Walt Disney World in Orlando as evidence of flawed policy towards wild animals. Many questioned why the animal was involved in the Olympic event. Reuters reports.
The Olympic torch is relayed through Brazil leading up to the August opening ceremony.