Seven-metre high inflatable armadillo mascot for the 2014 World Cup attacked by vandals
An inflatable version of Brazil's mascot for the 2014 World Cup, a smiling three-banded armadillo, has been removed after it was attacked with knives by vandals.
Bizarrely, it is the second time in less than a week that the mascot, which will be named either Amijubi, Fuleco or Zuzeco, has been the target of vandals after a version was damaged during demonstrations in the southern city of Porto Alegre.
The most recent attack occurred in Rio de Janeiro near the Esplanade of the Ministries, an enormous boulevard flanked by public buildings. The seven-metre high inflatable was targeted with knives and consequently had to be removed.
A pile of earth and iron railings are all that remain where the grinning mascot had previously stood.
The mascot was unveiled a month ago, with Brazil legend Ronaldo talking up the role of the armadillo.
"The mascot will play a key ambassadorial role in the next two years," said the retired striker, who played in three World Cups and was an unused squad member in 1994. "I'm sure he will inspire many young football fans in Brazil and all over the world with the great passion which he has for the sport and for his country."
The reason for choosing the armadillo, which is usually found in north-eastern Brazil and is under threat of extinction, was explained by Fifa's Jérôme Valcke.
"The fact the three-banded armadillo is a vulnerable species is very fitting. One of the objectives for this World Cup is to build a platform to communicate the importance of the environment and ecology."
Real-life armadillos are known to roll up into a ball when they feel threatened.
Latest in Sport
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Ghosts of past cast a massive shadow
Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao? Ricky Hatton, Mike Tyson, Ronda Rousey, George Foreman and more make their predictions
Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Kyle Walker dog video: Tottenham defender categorically denies 'disgusting' rumours
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 5 9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'