An athlete holds the Olympic Torch by a jaguar --symbol of Amazonia-- during a ceremony in Manaus, northern Brazil, on June 20, 2016.
The jaguar, who was named Juma and lived in the local zoo, had to be shot dead by soldiers shortly after the ceremony when he escaped and attacked a veterinarian despite having been hit four times with tranquilizing darts. / AFP PHOTO / Diario do Amazonas / Jair AraujoJAIR ARAUJO/AFP/Getty Images
Jaguar killed during Olympic event
00:49 - Source: CNN

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Jaguar was shot with tranquilizer dart but kept going, Brazilian military said

It was killed as it approached a soldier

CNN  — 

A jaguar that was part of an Olympic torch relay event on Monday was shot and killed after the cat escaped its handlers, the Brazilian army said in a statement.

After Juma broke free from her confinement, a team of military members and veterinarians worked to recapture the jaguar.

Despite being shot with a tranquilizer dart, the animal lunged at a soldier and, in an attempt to protect the soldier and the rest of the treatment team, the animal was killed with one pistol shot.

The torch relay stopped at the Jungle Warfare Instruction Center Zoo in Manaus on Monday morning.

Photos of the event show the animal in a collar and held by heavy chains lying on the ground. Nearby a man kneels holding the Olympic torch.

‘We made a mistake’

The Rio 2016 organizing committee expressed regrets.

“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,” the committee said in a statement.

“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.”

Jaguars are considered a near-threatened species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. It is the largest cat in the Americas.

CNN’s Marilia Brocchetto, Flora Charner and Joel Williams contributed to this report.