Woman severely mauled by jaguar after she crosses the zoo barrier to click a selfie with it
The woman was trying to take a selfie with the jaguar on Saturday at the Wildlife World Zoo near Phoenix when the predator dug its claws into her left arm.
A woman was attacked by a jaguar at an Arizona zoo on Saturday after she crossed over the zoo's barrier to take a selfie. Fire officials in Litchfield Park, Arizona said the visitor, who is in her 30s, sustained injuries that were not life-threatening.
According to Shawn Gilleland of the Rural Metro Fire Department, the attack took place Saturday evening at the Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park, CNN reports. The zoo posted a tweet citing witness accounts that a guest had crossed over the barrier to take a selfie when a female jaguar attacked her.
"The visitor sustained non-life threatening injuries to their arm from one of our female jaguars. At the request of the family, paramedics were called. At no time was the animal out of its enclosure ... please understand why barriers are put in place. Sending prayers to the family tonight," the zoo tweeted.
According to CNN affiliate KPHO, the woman, who is reportedly in her 30s, was rushed to hospital but is expected to survive. The woman was trying to capture an image near the fence of the jaguar enclosure when the predator attacked and mauled her arm.
Please understand why barriers are put in place. Sending prayers to the family tonight. pic.twitter.com/2MPb8bXhwR— Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park (@ZooWildlife) March 10, 2019
Witness Adam Wilkerson, who recorded the whole incident, said he was at the zoo with his family when he heard cries for help. "Without thinking, I had no idea what I was going to see, I just ran over there," he said. "I saw the other girl up against the fence with her arm caught in the jaguar's claws."
While Wilkerson placed himself right behind the woman, he decided he didn't want to pull her off as it could rip her flesh. "I could see the claws in her actual flesh," he said. Meanwhile, his mother ran up behind him and threw her water bottle through the cage in a bid to distract the jaguar.
Fortunately, the beast was lured successfully and it let go of its grip on the victim. "When my mom put the water bottle through the gate, the jaguar let go of the girl. And we pulled the girl back and she collapsed," he said.
According to Wilkerson, there were no employees nearby during the incident at Litchfield Park, which is about 20 miles from Phoenix, Arizona. ABC15 spoke to Wildlife World Zoo director Mickey Ollson regarding the incident and he clearly said that the cat would not be euthanized despite this being the second time the female jaguar had swiped at someone. Ollson reasoned saying: "It was not the animal's fault and they would never harm an animal based on human behavior."