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Boy Killed by Jaguar at Zoo

December 6, 1998

PARIS (AP) _ One of two jaguars that escaped from their cage in a zoo in western France fatally bit and mauled a small boy, then attacked his father as he desperately tried to fight off the animal, officials said Sunday.

Authorities were investigating how 3-year-old Gregoire was attacked Saturday afternoon at the zoo in Doue-la-Fontaine, 150 miles southwest of Paris.

Police in the small town near Saumur killed one of the two 200-pound female jaguars and captured the other, authorities said. The Zoo Doue was immediately shut down pending the investigation.

``The child didn’t pass through any security zone,″ said state prosecutor Yves Gambert told France Info radio. The jaguar went after the boy ``the moment it came out of a small tunnel.″

Repeatedly bitten in the head, the boy died of his wounds and his father was hospitalized in serious condition with mostly head wounds he suffered while battling the jaguar.

The father ``acted courageously, because there wasn’t much he could do, and two other children were nearby,″ nurse Noura Oumaziz told French television LCI.

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