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Jacksonville Zoo 'Devastated' After Female Jaguar Is Killed by Male Jaguar in 'Terrible Mistake'

Eric Todisco
·2-min read

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Zenta, female jaguar

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is mourning the death of a female jaguar who was attacked and killed by a younger male jaguar over the weekend.

In a press release, the zoo said that the female big cat, 21-year old Zenta, was killed by 12-year-old male Harry late Saturday in a holding complex at the Florida facility.

While zookeepers "tried frantically" to separate Zenta and Harry, they were unsuccessful. The animal health team was called to immobilize Harry, but Zenta was already dead from the attack before they arrived.

"Zenta's death is the result of a terrible mistake, and we are reviewing all aspects of this awful occurrence," Dan Maloney, the deputy zoo director for animal care, conservation, and wellness, said in the release. "Both jaguars were contained at all times and our team responded safely and swiftly."

Zenta came to Jacksonville in 2006 after she was rescued from a private zoo, and Harry was born at Jacksonville Zoo in 2009, according to the zoo.

Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union via AP Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

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"We are devastated by this sudden and sad event. Zenta will be sorely missed as she was a favorite of both staff and guest alike," added Maloney.

According to Maloney, the zoo is investigating the brutal attack in order to "mitigate this type of incident in the future."

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The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, which opened in 1914 and is located in northeast Florida, is home to over 2,000 animal species and 1,000 rare plants. The zoo is only one of seven in the U.S. to offer an animal wellness team, according to its website.