Did The Real Jaguar Smile?

Posted on August 22, 2016 in Environment

By Shreya Chatterjee:

As the torch runner proudly smiled, holding the flame, the men in uniform stood at ease guarding the jaguar. Amid the moment of pride, a chained and horrified 17-year-old female jaguar, ‘Juma’ as she was called, sat obediently. The photograph itself revealed a stark contrast to the spirit of the Olympics. The symbol of peace, unity alongside a captive endangered creature. Little did the helpless being know that its ferocious attempt to escape the captivity would cost its life. Four tranquiliser darts failed to stop the feline before it was shot with a pistol by a soldier. As Brazil kick-started the Rio-Olympic torch ceremony in the Amazon city of Manaus, there laid a carcass of a beast whose only fault was to go against the mankind’s will.

With mere 15000 jaguars left in contrast to whooping 7 billion human population, it was such an ignorant decision to even allow risking an endangered species for such an event and for that matter to involve any wild animal for any entertainment event. Though the organising committee accepted their grave mistake to have permitted this, the question is why had they not have this thought earlier? Why don’t we have more sincere laws for wildlife protection? Why do humans feel the urge to invade every other being’s space? When would humans stop their attempt to tame animals and force them to do things that they are not supposed to do naturally? When would we learn?

The smiling mascot of the Brazilian Olympic team, Ginga says that “it was born out of explosion of joy that happened when they announced that Rio would host Olympics Games, on 2 October 2009”. But did the real jaguar smile?

A month back in Cincinnati zoo, the keepers shot a 17-year old gorilla dead in a failed attempt to save a child who fell in a cage. Was the gorilla at fault which followed its natural instinct? Was it not the responsibility of the parents to take care of the child? Is it just because we possess arms we have the authority to shoot at innocent beings who can’t even express themselves? Are animals here just to entertain us? What happened to the hours spent on environment education during our school days? All went in vein. We know things. We Know its effects. We still turn our blind-eyes to such situation every time it happens. The news will fade till another such incident start doing rounds.