A woman who was attacked by a jaguar after invading the space by its enclosure is insisting the zoo should improve its safety.
The woman, who has been identified only as Leanne, was at Wildlife World Zoo in Arizona on Saturday (March 9) when she leaned over a four foot wide barrier which was supposed to separate the public from the wild animal’s cage, in order to take a selfie with the jaguar.
The animal clearly wasn’t happy about being disturbed and swiped at Leanne through the fence, lacerating her arm.
An eye-witness caught graphic footage of the aftermath, showing the wounds:
GRAPHIC VIDEO: Woman attacked by a jaguar at @ZooWildlife … officials say, the woman crossed over a barrier to get a photo. I’ll have more at 9 and 10.
— Jennifer Martinez (@Jennifer_Fox10) March 10, 2019
Though severe, the injuries were not life threatening, and Leanne has since spoken out about the scary experience.
Explaining why she attempted to get up close and personal with the feline, Leanne told CBS News:
The black jaguars was up against the fence and we happened to be walking by and we said, ‘Hey let’s get some good pictures’.
Leanne admitted she was in the wrong, but still believes the zoo should move the jaguar’s cage further away from the barrier as an extra safety measure – presumably for the people who ignore the restrictions already in place.
CBS News report the same jaguar injured another person, Jeff Allan, last summer. Jeff received several stitches and said the zoo put its barrier too close, but zoo officials maintain the rules weren’t followed.
— Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park (@ZooWildlife) March 11, 2019
I was in the wrong for leaning over the barrier. But I do think that maybe the zoo should look into moving their fence back.
Anybody can reach out. I’m not the first, and if they don’t move the fence, I’m probably not going to be the last.
I never expected this. I feel like we’re all human, we make mistakes and I learned my lesson.
KTNV reports Wildlife World Zoo spokesperson, Kristy Morcom, has explained the security barriers meet federal safety guidelines.
We are taking into consideration all aspects of safety pertaining to this exhibit as well as throughout the entire park because that is our biggest concern.
People need to respect the barriers and understand they are put in place for the safety of everyone.
The jaguar has been removed from the exhibit for the time being, but the zoo have confirmed the animal won’t be put down because of the incident.
Replying to a concerned Twitter user, they wrote:
She won’t be put down.
She won’t be put down.
— Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park (@ZooWildlife) March 10, 2019
Hopefully people will learn from Leanne’s ordeal; if there’s something keeping you away from a dangerous, wild animal, a good general rule is to obey it.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.