Zoo worker breaks safety protocol in jaguar mauling case

The Denver Zoo investigation into the mauling of an employee by a jaguar has shown that she opened the door to the exhibit while the animal was still inside, setting in motion the events that led to her death.

Officials say zookeeper Ashley Pfaff breached at least two safety protocols February 24th, and that the jaguar attack that killed her was the result of human error.

Executive Vice President Craig Piper says the violations included a failure to verify the location of the jaguar before opening the zookeeper access door, and failure to maintain two locked doors between the keeper and the animal.

Piper says the conclusions came after a thorough investigation.

Pfaff died when the 140-pound (63.5-kilogram) jaguar Jorge got into an employee access hallway through an open cage door and pounced on her.

An autopsy found that Pfaff died of a broken neck, and that she had extensive internal injuries.