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Apology from Rio 2016: Amazon Jaguar Shot dead at Olympic Torch Ceremony

The jaguar was earlier tranquilized and was killed by a single gunshot from a soldier after it escaped from handlers

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Brazilian Jaguar shot dead in Rio Olympics 2016. Image source: Brazilian Army
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  • A tranquilized jaguar was utilized in an Olympic Torch Ceremony on Tuesday, June 21
  • The jaguar was shot dead by a soldier to save his life after it escaped from handlers
  • The jaguar is an endangered species in the Americas

Rio 2016 organizers issued an apology on Tuesday, June 21, after a jaguar that featured in an Olympic torch ceremony was shot dead in the Amazonian city of Manaus.

The jaguar, which had earlier been tranquilized, was killed by a single gun shot from a soldier after it escaped from handlers, the Brazilian army said in a statement.

The army said the soldier had been forced to shoot the animal to protect himself from being mauled, Xinhua reported.

“We made a mistake in permitting the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and unity, to be exhibited alongside a chained wild animal,” Rio 2016 said in a statement.

“This image goes against our beliefs and our values. We guarantee that there will be no more such incidents at Rio 2016.”

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Brazilian mascot, Ginga. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons

The jaguar, named Juma, was the real-life version of Brazil’s Olympic team toy mascot, known as Ginga.

Animal rights groups questioned why Juma was used in the ceremony. Moments before being fatally wounded, the animal featured in photographs alongside the Olympic torch while shackled by chains.

“When will people (and institutions) stop with this sick need to show power and control by confining, taming and showcasing wild animals?” Brazilian animal rights group Animal Freedom Union said on Facebook.

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According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the jaguar is an endangered species in the Americas. It’s population has fallen by 30 per cent since the mid-1980s.

Ipaam, Brazil’s Amazonas state environmental authority, said it had launched an investigation in the incident.

“No request was made to authorize the participation of the jaguar ‘Juma’ in the event of the Olympic torch,” Ipaam said in a statement.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from IANS), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    As jaguars are endangered in America, the RIO 2016 should’ve avoided using it for the torch ceremony as there could’ve be many unwanted things happening

  • devika todi

    recently, i’ve read many articles that complain about the harmless killing of many endangered animals. what has this world come to?

Next Story

Illegal Loggers Threaten ‘Uncontacted Indigenous Tribes’ In The Amazon

The environmental protection agency Ibama responded by sending in patrols in May, which temporarily halted the logging.

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Members of an uncontacted Amazon Basin tribe and their dwellings are seen during a flight over the Brazilian state of Acre along the border with Peru. VOA

Illegal loggers and militias cleared an area three times the size of Gibraltar in Brazil’s Amazon this year, threatening an “uncontacted” indigenous tribe, activists said on Tuesday.

Satellite imagery collected by Instituto Socioambiental (ISA), a Brazilian advocacy group, detected about 4,600 acres (1,863 hectares) of deforestation this year in the Ituna Itata indigenous land in northern Para state.

“This situation is very worrying,” Juan Doblas, senior geo-processing analyst at ISA, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“There is a series of risks, not only to indigenous territories of uncontacted tribes, but also to other indigenous territories in the area.”

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Ecuadorian Amazon rain forest. Wikimedia Commons

The indigenous affairs agency Funai and the federal police were not immediately available to comment. The environmental protection agency Ibama said in a statement that official data on Amazon deforestation will be released in November.

Brazil’s uncontacted tribes, some of the last on earth, depend on large areas of unspoiled forest land to hunt animals and gather the food they need to survive.

They are particularly vulnerable when their land rights are threatened because they lack the natural immunity to diseases that are carried by outsiders, rights groups say.

Forest loss in Ituna Itata — from which outsiders were banned in 2011 to protect the uncontacted tribe — spiked to about 2,000 acres in August from 7 acres in May, said ISA, which has monitored the area through satellites since January.

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This Sept. 15, 2009 file photo shows a deforested area near Novo Progresso in Brazil’s northern state of Para.. VOA

South America’s largest country is grappling with scores of deadly land conflicts, illustrating the tensions between preserving indigenous culture and economic development.

ISA filed a complaint in April to federal and state authorities about forest destruction and illegal logging in the area during the rainy season, which is unusual, said Doblas.

“It was a sign that something very serious was going to happen,” he said. “It was a preparation for the invasion.”

Also Read: Spix’s Macaw Parrot from Brazil Is Now Extinct

The environmental protection agency Ibama responded by sending in patrols in May, which temporarily halted the logging, he said, adding that ISA plans to file another complaint this week, using updated data and satellite images. (VOA)