January 20, 2009

Jaguar Attacks Zoo Keeper

A female zoo keeper is in critical condition after being attacked by a jaguar at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo located about an hour outside Baltimore.

Two jaguars were in quarantine Monday, after one of them was responsible for the attack. There's no word on if they will be put down. Officials say they are up to date on their vaccinations and rabies shots.

Thirty-two year old Deborah Gregory was apparently cleaning the area where the two jaguars are kept.

Harold Domer, director of Animal Control in Frederick County says, "The area where maintenance was being done and where this employee was injured is where the jaguar frequents to be fed and watered."

The woman was attacked around 11 a.m. Sunday, the zoo said in a statement.

Police say a co-worker heard her yell for help and used a fire extinguisher to get the 200 pound jaguar off her. The woman was given first aid by staff and emergency medical technicians before being brought to Maryland Shock Trauma in Baltimore.

Animal control inspected the enclosure and says proper safety procedures are in place. However, a neighbor who lives next to the zoo says animals have gotten loose before.

The zoo is accredited by the Zoological Association of America.

Domer said the worker was attacked by a male jaguar weighing between 180 and 200 pounds. He said animal control workers did not know for sure if the second jaguar, a female, entered the indoor area or took part in the attack.

According to Domer, an inspection Monday showed the door "has several devices that allow the door to be locked." He called the safety precautions "extremely adequate." It was not clear how the male jaguar was able to pass through the door to the den.


On the Net: