RIO DE JANEIRO- A jaguar that was featured in chains at an Olympic torch ceremony was shot dead by a soldier shortly after the event when the animal escaped from its handlers, an army statement said.
A soldier fired on the jaguar, who despite being tranquilized, approached the soldier, the army said.
The jaguar, a near-threatened species, is already extinct in Uruguay and El Salvador, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
“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,” the local organizing committee Rio 2016 said in a statement.
The committee also gave a guarantee, “that there will be no more such incidents at Rio 2016”.
The jaguar’s presence at the event was illegal, according to Ipaam, the Amazonas state government environmental authority that oversees the use of wild animals.
“No request was made to authorize the participation of the jaguar “Juma” in the event of the Olympic torch,” Ipaam added.