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Jaguar at Jacksonville Zoo killed by another jaguar inside holding complex

Zenta was a 21-year-old female jaguar who first came to the zoo in 2006 as a rescue. Harry, the 12-year-old male that killed her, was born in the zoo in 2009.
Credit: John Reed

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A female jaguar at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens died after being attacked by another jaguar on Saturday, the zoo officials announced Tuesday.

The incident happened in a holding complex where keepers brought in Harry, a 12-year-old male jaguar, for observation after he ingested pieces of an enrichment item. Zenta, a 21-year-old female jaguar, was also in the holding complex, according to the zoo.

The two animals became aggressive towards each other, and keepers tried to separate them. The animal health team also attempted to immobilize Harry. However, they were unsuccessful, and Harry ultimately killed Zenta.

“Zenta’s death is the result of a terrible mistake, and we are reviewing all aspects of this awful occurrence,” said Dan Maloney, Deputy Zoo Director for Animal Care, Conservation and Wellness. “Both jaguars were contained at all times and our team responded safely and swiftly.” 

Harry was born at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in 2009.

Zenta first came to the zoo in 2006 as a rescue animal from a private zoo.

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

Maloney said the zoo is still investigating the incident and plans to make changes to prevent an incident like this in the future.

Credit: John Reed