A female jaguar, who was used in an Olympic torch relay event at a Brazilian zoo, was shot dead shortly after the ceremony when the animal escaped her handler and attacked a soldier, reported BBC. The soldier fired a single shot when the animal approached him even after being shot with four tranquiliser darts.

"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 organising committee said. The animal, Juma, was raised in captivity at the zoo in Manaus.

Animal rights groups have strongly condemned the killing at the Rio Games event on Monday. "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," said Brittany Peet, director of captive animal law enforcement at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The jaguar is a protected species, and only around 15,000 remain alive today. According to the Amazonas state government environmental authority, Juma’s participation in the Olynpic event was illegal, said Reuters. “No request was made to authorize the participation of the jaguar ‘Juma’ in the event of the Olympic torch,” Ipaam, the environmental authority said.