An Olympic celebration turned tragic after soldiers were forced to shoot and kill a 17-year-old female jaguar in Manuas, Brazil. The jaguar, named Juma, had been brought out to celebrate the passing of the Olympic torch through the Brazilian Amazon, and to commemorate the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Following her public appearance, Juma was escorted to a local zoo, where she escaped from her handlers.
Soldiers initially attempted to use tranquilizers, but after being struck four times, Juma didn’t slow down. The jaguar then turned on a veterinarian, prompting military officials to use bullets to bring her down.
“It escaped and ran off as it was being moved from one area to another in the zoo,” said Colonel Luiz Gustavo Evelyn. ‘To protect the handler, it was sacrificed.” Juma had been raised in the military-led zoo since she was a cub, along with several other young jaguars.
Organizers for the Games committee commented that they felt “saddened by the outcome,” and apologized for allowing the Olympic torch “to be displayed next to a chained wild animal.”
According to the Amazonas government environmental authority, IPAAM, Juma’s appearance at the Olympic torch ceremony was done illegally and without any formal request or permission.