Juma The Jaguar Was Killed Because Olympic Committee 'Made A Mistake'

Another wild animal in captivity has been killed for supposedly endangering a human being.


Animal rights groups have condemned the killing of an Amazon jaguar that was presented as a mascot during the Olympic torch relay ceremony in the city of Manaus, Brazil.

Juma was killed by a soldier soon after it escaped its handlers and approached a vet. A team of military men were unable to subdue the cat, despite it being tranquilized, and in an attempt to protect the soldier, shot it dead.

“We were wrong to allow the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and of the union among the peoples, to be displayed alongside a wild animal in chains,” the local Olympic organizing committee said on its Facebook page. “This scene is contrary to our beliefs and values. We are very sad with the outcome that happened after the passing of the torch. We guarantee that we will not see more situations like this in the Rio 2016 Games.”

The killing of Juma — whose species is the symbol of the Amazon — sparked a wildfire of backlash from animal rights activists, who compared it with the recent killing of Harambe, the silver-backed gorilla at Cincinnati zoo.

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“When will we learn? Wild animals held captive and forced to do things that are frightening, sometimes painful, and always unnatural, are ticking time bombs — our actions put them and humans at risk,” Brittany Peet, director of captive animal law enforcement at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a statement. “PETA urges everyone who is upset by the needless death of this jaguar, the gorilla Harambe, or countless other exploited wild animals to stay far away from any business that puts living beings on display for human amusement.”

The very same question was on the tongues of Rio de Janeiro’s animal rights group, Animal Freedom Union.

“When will people (and institutions) stop with this sick need to show power and control by confining, taming and showcasing wild animals?” asked the AFU.

Canadian-based organization, Animal Justice, tweeted a plea to stop the cruel treatment of animals.


Ipaam, Amazon’s environmental authority, said Juma's presence during the torch bearing ceremony was unauthorized and an investigation of the incident is underway.

“The incident happened due to the simple fact that it was a jaguar and wild animals will always be wild animals,” said Diogo Lagroteria, a veterinarian and environmental analyst at Ibama, Brazil’s environmental protection agency. “There is no way to predict their reaction to this kind of situation.”

The death of Juma is doubly sad because this majestic animal is a near-threatened species due to persecution and habitat loss, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Read More: Zoo Director Defends Decision To Kill Gorilla