The planning of the 2016 Olympic Games, scheduled to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 5 to 21, has been plagued with woes.
In addition to the country’s political instability, there are serious concerns about whether or not the infrastructure will be sufficient to handle the event, not to mention concerns about the Zika virus, which has reportedly hit Brazil harder than any other country.
And now an endangered animal has been intentionally killed during one of the event’s official ceremonies, reports the Daily Mail.
On June 21, the Brazilian army shot dead an Amazon jaguar named Juma after it was used as a mascot during the lighting of the Olympic torch. Juma served as a mascot because the Brazilian army’s official symbol is a jaguar.
At some point, the great cat escaped.
"The jaguar was in a secluded spot, but everyone took pictures with her," a guest at the event said, according to the Daily Mail. "When the event was over, Juma was taken to her cage, which was in a truck. It was then that she ran away."
After a failed attempt was made to subdue Juma with tranquilizers, it was killed — allegedly to protect nearby soldiers.
Brazil's Amazon Military Command issued the following statement:
Efforts were made to capture the animal by firing tranquilizers. But even though the animal was hit, it still advanced towards a soldier that was stationed nearby. As a safety procedure and aiming to protect the soldier and the handlers, a pistol was used to shoot the animal. She died at the scene.
The Amazon Institute of Environmental, which had not given permission for Juma to be used at the event, has reportedly launched an investigation into the matter.
"Habitat loss and overhunting have these rare cats on the run and listed as threatened or endangered nearly everywhere they call home," the organization Defenders of Wildlife explains on its website. "The situation is most dire in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, where they’ve been virtually wiped out in the United States, and only 70-100 animals are thought to survive in Sonora, Mexico."