Olympic mascot shot dead after a torch event when the jaguar escaped his cage and lunged after a Brazilian soldier.
It’s happened again: another wild animal has been killed after having an interaction with humans that took a turn for the worst. In most of the cases it’s the humans that make a mistake that ends up being fatal for the animal, and this situation was no different.
This year’s Olympics are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and things are off to a rocky start.
The host country chose a yellow jaguar named Ginga to be its mascot and decided to use a live jaguar named Juma in several events to represent the mascot without taking proper precautions to ensure his safety.
After being displayed at an Olympic torch relay event in Manaus, Brazil, Juma was placed in an enclosure at a zoo attached to the Manaus military compound. The jaguar escaped the cage and officials sent out a team of military personnel and veterinarians to attempt to recapture the animal.
Officials first shot Juma with a tranquilizer dart that proved unsuccessful as he continued to pursue those trying to calm him. When Juma lunged at one of the soldiers, he was killed with a single pistol shot to protect the soldier and all other humans present.
The Rio 2016 organizing committee expressed regrets for the incident and said,
“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.”
Unfortunately, the group’s oversight in regard to the animal’s confinement and his involvement in the events cost Juma his life.
The statement released went on to say,
“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.”
While it’s reassuring that the group has realized their mistake in involving a wild animal for entertainment, they should have taken all the necessary precautions to ensure that this would not happen in the first place. Hopefully future Olympics events in all countries will take note of what can happen with poor planning and forcing animals to take part in a human show.
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