A jaguar attacked a woman who crossed a barrier to take a “selfie” with the animal at a zoo near Phoenix. The woman sustained non-life-threatening injuries at the Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park.
A spokesman for the Rural Metro Fire Department, said the woman, who is in her 30s, climbed over a barrier at the zoo Saturday to get closer to the jaguar’s enclosure so that she could get a selfie with the animal. The jaguar reached out and grabbed her arm with its paw, leaving lacerations, Gilleland said.
The woman was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Officials with Wildlife World Zoo said in a statement that a guest was injured by a female jaguar at the zoo in Litchfield Park, not far from Phoenix. Officials said the attack is under investigation but noted that the animal was not outside her enclosure at any time. “Please understand why barriers are put in place,” officials tweeted. “Sending prayers to the family tonight.”
One witness, Adam Wilkerson, told AZFamily.com that he and his mother heard the woman scream Saturday evening and ran to help.
“My mom runs up and takes her water bottle and shoves it through the cage near where the jaguar is, and the jaguar goes to let go of the girl to take the water bottle, and the claw just catches this girl’s sweater,” he told the news organization. “So at that point I see that it’s no longer attached to the girl’s actual arm, only on her sweater, so I grab the girl on her torso and I pull her back.”
Wilkerson, who captured some of the aftermath on video, added that the woman was “lying on the ground, screaming in agony.”
Zoo owner Mickey Ollson told AZFamily.com that about a year ago, the big cat scratched another guest who also had crossed the barrier.
“There’s no way to fix people crossing barriers,” Ollson told the news organization. “That happens occasionally. And we put substantial barriers there and if people cross them, they can get in trouble.”