The woman crossed over the zoo barrier and tried to take a picture with the feline animal when she was attacked by it.The woman has owned up to her mistake. No action will be taken against the jaguar.
Wild animals are not meant to be locked up in a zoo. Even when they are, there is a reason why they are put in a cage and why people are not allowed to go near the cage or the animals. It isn't safe! As reported by CNN, Leanne, a woman in her thirties, was recently attacked by a jaguar while trying to take a close-up picture with the animal. The incident took place in Wildlife World Zoo, located near Phoenix, Arizona. Fire officials in Litchfield Park, Arizona reported that the victim sustained injuries, mostly on her arm, none of which were life-threatening. The woman was mauled by the animal after she jumped across the barrier and tried to get a selfie with the animal. The female jaguar dug her claws into Leanne's left arm. According to Shawn Gilleland of the Rural Metro Fire Department, the attack took place on Saturday evening. Part of the incident was caught on camera. The zoo further posted a tweet explaining the incident to the public, suggesting that the fault lay with the actions of the woman.
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, Leanne was first checked by the medical staff at the zoo and rushed to the hospital soon after. Doctors said that Leanne would survive the attack as the incident was fatal but not life-threatening. The woman planned to capture an image near the jaguar and the fence. Visitors are constantly warned about not going too close to the fence for reasons like this.
A woman suffered serious injuries after being attacked by a jaguar while attempting to take a selfie at an Arizona zoo.— ABC News (@ABC) March 11, 2019
The zoo says the woman crossed a barrier in an attempt to get the photo. https://t.co/kCYxnjEEc1 pic.twitter.com/JUVMBemVVT
Adam Wilkerson, a witness to the incident, mentioned that he was at the zoo with his family when someone came running down the corner, crying for help. He managed to record a part of the incident, although he could not capture how the attack took place. "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." Zoo spokeswoman Kristy Morcom announced that the female jaguar is currently off the exhibit. However, the animal will not be punished for her actions.
Wilkerson said that he arrived at the scene as soon as he could and was standing right behind the woman. He was hesitant to pull her out because that might have resulted in her flesh being ripped apart. "I could see the claws in her actual flesh," he said. Wilkerson's mother came up with the best way to get Leanne out of the exhibit. She ran up behind him and through a bottle of water inside the cage in order to distract the animal. "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," said Wilkerson.
An “attack” would be if the jaguar jumped out & attacked her in HER environment! Unprovoked ... unexpected attack! But if YOU decide to go into the Jaguars dining room table, expect to become dinner! This is no attack, this is nature doing what it does! #CommonSense— Dayanara Villarroel (@dayanarav) March 11, 2019
Moments of the incident were caught on camera and the graphic video was uploaded on social media site Reddit. In the video, the woman is seen screaming in pain as a deep laceration on the victim's arm is seen. Following the incident, the Humane Society of the United States released a statement that reads, When various types of exhibitors promote all sorts of close encounters with wildlife, people get the mistaken idea that wild animals are approachable. Throw in a healthy dose of poor judgment, and incidents like this are bound to happen. We urge the zoological community exhibitors to set a higher standard to protect people and to respect wildlife from a safe distance by doing away with public contact opportunities with wildlife of all species.
Wilkerson mentioned that there were no employees around when the incident took place. Wildlife World Zoo director Mickey Ollson spoke to ABC15 regarding his thoughts on the incident. He also mentioned that this was the second time that the female jaguar had attacked a visitor. He clearly stated that the big cat would not be euthanized despite it being the second such incident. "It was not the animal's fault and they would never harm an animal based on human behavior," said Ollson. The last time the female jaguar swiped at someone, the man was standing outside the barrier. He was attacked when he just reached out to take a clearer video of the animal.
So glad that common sense prevailed and the blame was laid on the guilty party. Praying for the jaguar.. the human can pray for herself.— ANILA WHITNEY (@ANILAWHITNEY) March 10, 2019
Zoo officials said, "I think you observe the barriers - they are there for a good reason. We try to keep everyone safe, we have an excellent safety record here with all our animals. For the past 35 years, Wildlife World Zoo has served literally hundreds of thousands and over a million customers with very few injuries and usually, those injuries result from misbehavior of the visitor or human error. Every time that you have an incident in a zoo, you're going to double check it and meet with your staff try to figure out a way to stop that incident from happening again - but again, when people do not respect the barriers, there's always a chance there might be a problem."
So upset at how easily his could have ended tragically for the jaguar. I hope this woman is okay but also hope she is heavily fined for her reckless endangerment of herself and the jaguar and her clear violation of the rules.— Monica (@MonicaExplains) March 11, 2019
Wilkerson told the local news that in Leanne's opinion, the zoo had a more open layout as compared to most other zoos, this allowed the visitors to get much closer to the animals. He mentioned that the 3-foot-high barriers that acted as security fences were enough to let people know that they weren't supposed to or allowed to reach over and get close to the animals. While commenting about Leanne's actions to the New York Times, Wilkerson said, "Common sense would say that would probably not be a good idea."