Zookeeper Dies From Jaguar Mauling

Saturday, February 24th 2007, 7:45 pm
By: News On 6

DENVER (AP) _ A zookeeper died Saturday after a 140-pound jaguar mauled her in its enclosure, and the big cat was fatally shot when it approached emergency workers treating the injured woman, the zoo said.

The zookeeper, whose name was not immediately released, was taken to Denver General Hospital, where she died, police spokesman Sonny Jackson said.

The park closed after the shooting and it wasn't immediately known whether it would reopen Sunday, spokeswoman Amy Sarno said. ``Obviously, everyone is very upset,'' she said.

Zoo officials did not know how the mauling occurred or what led up to the incident, Sarno said.

The jaguar, a 6-year-old male named Jorge, was shot by a zoo employee and the public was never at risk, the zoo said. The big cat had been at the zoo for nearly two years.

The facility added a 16-month-old female jaguar named Caipora in December, the zoo's Web site said. The female was to be paired with Jorge when she was old enough.

The Web site notes, ``The jaguar is the third largest cat in the world behind the tiger and lion. Yet, they have the most powerful jaw of all the big cats.''