Jaguar attacks woman who was taking a selfie at Arizona zoo

Author: Justin Carissimo/ CBS news
Photo via CBS News.

A jaguar attacked a woman who crossed a barrier to take a photo with the animal at an Arizona zoo Saturday evening, officials said. The woman sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the attack at the Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park, about 20 miles outside of Phoenix.

The Rural Metro Fire Department said the woman attempted to “take a selfie near the fence of the Jaguar enclosure when the cat reached out and attacked her arm.”

The zoo tweeted a statement saying paramedics were called at the request of the woman’s family, and at no point was the jaguar out of its enclosure.

The woman, who is in her 30s, was taken to a local hospital after suffering a laceration on her arm. She is expected to recover, CBS affiliate KPHO-TV reported.

“There’s no way to fix people crossing barriers,” Mickey Ollson, the zoo’s director, told KPHO. “That happens occasionally. We put substantial barriers there, and if people cross them, they can get in trouble.”

Ollson said this is the second time the same jaguar hurt a park visitor who crossed the barrier. The zoo is considering adding additional barriers to prevent further incidents.

Adam Wilkerson captured the aftermath of the attack on video. The recording clearly showed the woman’s laceration on her arm. She lies on the ground screaming in pain while others surround her.

Wilkerson said he heard the woman screaming for help and his mother rushed over to distract the jaguar.

“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 KPHO. “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.”

Zoo officials told CBS News the barrier meets federal standards. They said the jaguar has been removed from the exhibit, and will not be euthanized.

Ileana Diaz contributed to this report.

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