Search icon


22nd Jun 2016

Jaguar shot dead by Brazilian soldier after taking part in Olympic torch ceremony

It had escaped its handlers

Kevin Beirne

An Amazon jaguar which was included in an Olympic torch ceremony has been shot and killed by a Brazilian solider.

The jaguar, known as Juma, took part in a ceremony in the Brazilian city of Manaus – capital of the state of Amazonas – but escaped from its handlers shortly after the event, according to a statement from the Brazilian army.

The soldier fired a single pistol shot at the jaguar as it approached him – despite being tranquillised – in a zoo connected to a military training centre where the Olympic torch ceremony was held.

According to Ipaam, the Amazonas state government environmental authority that oversees the use of wild animals, the use of the 17-year-old Juma in the ceremony was not legal.

‘No request was made to authorize the participation of the jaguar “Juma” in the event of the Olympic torch,’ read a statement from Ipaam, which is now investigating the incident.

Jaguars are already extinct in Uruguay and El Salvador according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, as the species is classified as “near-threatened” in terms of its conservation status.

In a statement after the shooting, the Rio 2016 organising committee said:

‘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.

‘We guarantee that there will be no more such incidents at Rio 2016.’

The news is another unwelcome headache for Rio organisers, who have already had to deal with numerous obstacles which now also include the withdrawal of high-profile competitors over fears of the spread of the Zika virus.