Cause of Denver Zoo Jaguar Mauling

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

An investigation by the Denver Zoo has concluded that a zoo keeper attacked and killed by a jaguar broke zoo rules by opening the door to a cage while the cat was inside.

Zoo Vice President Craig Piper says the February death of Ashlee Pfaff was caused by "human error." He says she didn't follow established safety protocols on the day of the accident.

The 27 year old woman was killed when a 140 pound jaguar named Jorge got into an employee access hallway through the open cage door and pounced on her. An autopsy found she died of a broken neck and had extensive internal injuries.

The jaguar was shot and wounded and later euthanized by other zoo employees.

Police recently concluded that the attack was "a tragic accident" but didn't address why the cage door was open. Zoo officials say they found no faulty doors, locks or gates.

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