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Brazil ‘Olympic’ jaguar shot dead

BRASILIA (AFP) – A jaguar trotted out for the Olympic torch’s passage through Brazil’s Amazon but was killed shortly afterward when it escaped its handlers and threatened a vet, the Brazilian military said Tuesday.

The feline – whose species is the symbol of the Amazon – was shot dead in the northern city of Manaus on Monday soon after it was photographed with the torch passing by. An attempt to use tranquilizer darts on it failed.

“It escaped and ran off as it was being moved from one area to another in the zoo,” said Colonel Luiz Gustavo Evelyn, whose unit is deployed in the region.

He explained that, once located, the jaguar was hit by four tranquilizer darts. But they did not slow it down and it turned on a veterinarian, forcing the soldiers to use bullets. “To protect the handler, it was sacrificed,” Evelyn said.

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