DENVER — A Bolivian-born jaguar named Jorge that killed a Denver zookeeper was well-behaved as a young cat but his twin was so mean that his handlers named him Osama, a Bolivian zoo official said Monday.
Ashlee Pfaff, 27, died from a broken neck and other injuries after Jorge attacked her when she opened a door to his enclosure on Saturday, the coroner said. A zoo employee shot and killed Jorge when he approached emergency workers trying to save Pfaff.
Jorge — Spanish for George — had been named after President Bush, said Dr. Margot Ugarteche, a veterinarian at the Santa Cruz Municipal Zoo of South American Fauna in Bolivia, which sent Jorge to the Denver Zoo.
"Osama was always the more dominant of the two," Ugarteche said. "He was always rough with George. That was the relationship we saw between them.
"Jorge wasn't bad, really," she said. "I don't know what could have happened. Perhaps because he was so well-behaved, the trainer (in Denver) thought she could trust him. But you never know with wild animals."
Denver Zoo officials said the jaguar attacked Pfaff when she entered his pen. They said they did not know why she opened the door, because zoo policy prohibits keepers and big cats from being in an enclosure together.
Pfaff had undergone regular safety training for the jaguar exhibit, shadowed veteran keepers and attended mandatory safety meetings, officials said.
The zoo and Denver police have launched investigations. The U.S. Agriculture Department also planned to investigate, spokesman Darby Holladay said.
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