A jaguar featured at an Olympic torch ceremony was shot and killed by a soldier right almost immediately after the event, reports indicate.
The event took place in the Brazilian Amazon city of Manaus, at a zoo attached to a military training center where the ceremony was held.
After the animal escaped from its handlers, an army statement said, the jaguar was killed by a single pistol shot fired by one of the soldiers.
Despite being tranquilized, the jaguar approached the soldier, the army said, and the outcome was as predictable as it was tragic.
"This image goes against our beliefs and our values," the local organizing committee Rio 2016 said in a statement decrying the incident.
"We made a mistake in permitting the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and unity, to be exhibited alongside a chained wild animal."
"We guarantee that there will be no more such incidents at Rio 2016."
The jaguar is species that is already extinct in Uruguay and El Salvador, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Its future coexisting with humanity continues to look perilous.
The Amazon jaguar shooting caused uproar among animal rights groups, already reeling from the killing of a gorilla at a Cincinnati zoo.
Moreover, the case of a toddler killed by an alligator at Walt Disney World in Orlando has further raised questions along these lines.
Evidence of flawed policy towards wild animals is abundant, but where should the line be drawn? Who is to blame and what should be done?
In this case, plenty, according to critics of the Olympic event.
Questioning why the animal was even involved, PETA’s Brittany Peet issued a statement condemning the events: "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."
In Brazil, the Rio de Janeiro-based animal rights group Animal Freedom Union asked the same question in a blistering Facebook post:
"When will people (and institutions) stop with this sick need to show power and control by confining, taming and showcasing wild animals?"
The involvement of Juma, as the jaguar was known, was also illegal, says Ipaam, the Amazonas state government environmental authority.
"No request was made to authorize the participation of the jaguar Juma in the event of the Olympic torch," Ipaam said in a statement.
Ipaam said it is investigating the incident.
A cartoon, smiling jaguar known as Ginga is the mascot of the Brazilian Olympic team, which hosts the global sports event this summer.