'Mascot' jaguar shot dead shortly after being paraded at Olympic torch ceremony in Brazil

A jaguar has been shot dead in Manaus, Brazil, shortly after appearing in a torch relay ceremony to promote the upcoming Olympics.

 Juma the jaguar was shot on Monday (June 20) and killed after the cat escaped its handlers, the Brazilian army said in a statement.

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

According to Sky News, four tranquiliser darts failed to slow Juma down, prompting the soldier to fire the single pistol shot which killed her.

The committee organising this summer's Rio Games said they were "very unhappy" that the 17-year-old animal, who had been raised in captivity since she was a cub, had died.

O 1° sargento Edney Tomazini teve um presentão de aniversário hoje. Completou 40 anos e conduziu a @ChamaOlimpica! pic.twitter.com/Js3dv7dR0v

— Brasil 2016 (@Brasil2016) June 20, 2016

 SB Nation reports that last year, in a bit of cruel irony, the Brazilian national team announced a new mascot to represent them: A jaguar named Ginga, who was created by the Brazilian Olympic committee to "highlight the efforts of conservation NGOs working to protect [the jaguar]."

Many Brazilians and animal rights groups are furious over the jaguar being killed, and questioned why it was being used at the ceremony in the first place.

"We made a mistake in permitting the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and unity, to be exhibited along a chained wild animal. This image goes against our beliefs and our values," the Rio 2016 committee said in a statement.

"We guarantee that there will be no more such incidents at Rio 2016."

The jaguar's involvement in the ceremony was reportedly also illegal. 

"No request was made to authorise the participation of the jaguar 'Juma' in the event of the Olympic torch," local government officials said.

The Olympic torch is continuing its tour through Brazil in the lead up to the opening ceremony on Aug. 5.