Female jaguar killed by male jaguar at Jacksonville Zoo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A female jaguar was killed by a male jaguar in a holding complex at the zoo, according to a news release Tuesday from the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

The zoo said the 21-year-old female jaguar Zenta was killed late Saturday. It said the incident occurred when the 12-year-old male jaguar Harry was brought in to a holding complex to be examined after he ingested “pieces of an enrichment item.”

Zookeepers, the news release said, tried to separate the animals using several tactics through the mesh, but were unsuccessful. The animal health team was called to immobilize Harry, but Zenta had already died when they arrived.

“These animals are like extended family to the caregivers, to the keepers who tend to them every day,” said Dan Maloney, deputy zoo director. “So when something like this happens, it’s so sudden and so tragic.”

Maloney said it’s not uncommon for a jaguar who has encountered another jaguar to defend themselves. The zoo said it’s still assessing what happened and that going forward it will make the necessary changes.

“We want to be able to make any changes that would be helpful to avoid this situation ever happening. But we’re still trying to figure out whether that means more locks, more staff, better, you know, better security,” Maloney said. “We just don’t know that yet.”

The zoo said Zenta came to Jacksonville in 2006 as a rescued animal from a private zoo, and Harry was born at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in 2009.

Wildlife expert Ron Magill from Zoo Miami joined us on The Morning Show to talk more about animal attacks in zoos.

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