Juma The Jaguar Was Shot Dead After Fleeing An Rio Olympics Torch Event

The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are off to a shaky start: This week, a jaguar named Juma was shot dead during the torch relay ceremony after escaping its handler. The jaguar resided at the Jungle Warfare Instruction Center Zoo in Manaus, Brazil alongside half a dozen other jaguars. According to Colonel Luiz Gustavo Evelyn, it "escaped and ran off as it was being moved from one area to another in the zoo." Initially, veterinarians and military personnel who were on the scene tried to save the animal's life by shooting it with a tranquilizer dart. Upon being hit with four darts, however, Juma charged towards a soldier and was shot dead with a pistol, the Brazilian army reported. Evelyn, on the other hand, claimed the jaguar was shot to protect the veterinarian.

Though the animal allegedly lunged towards either a veterinarian or soldier, depending on the account, the military released a statement suggesting the animal was accustomed to being around humans. "Juma was a docile animal used to living among people at the center," it said. Most likely, the tranquilizer darts startled the animal and allowed just enough time for it to lash out before losing consciousness.

The incident occurred weeks after Harambe, a Western lowland gorilla, was killed after a boy entered her confinement. Though numerous zoo experts have condoned the Cincinnati Zoo's decision to kill Harambe, the incident wreaked havoc on social media.

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Anticipating a firestorm of criticism for displaying the near-threatened jungle cat in confines and subsequently killing it, the Rio 2016 organizing committee apologized for the incident.

We made a mistake when we allowed the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and union of different people, to be exhibited next to a chained wild animal.

Manaus was one of dozens of stops the torch has made since April 21 when it was lit in Olympia. The traditional symbol of the games will pass through at least 50 more cities over the next couple of months before arriving in Rio on August 4. In its statement to the press, the Rio 2016 organizing committee went on to ensure that tragedies like the one in Manaus will be prevented in the future.

This scene contradicts our beliefs and values. We are very saddened by what happened after the torch relay and guarantee we will not witness any other situation like this one during the Rio 2016 Games.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, 90 percent of the world's jaguars are found in the Amazon rainforest. Though the species used to occupy the northern ranges of Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia, they now occupy just half the range of their original native lands. It's difficult to tell how many are left in the wild because they generally steer clear of humans, but the WWF ensures their numbers are on the decline.