SALT LAKE CITY — An Arizona woman who was attacked and scratched by a jaguar has apologized to the Arizona zoo where the incident took place, CNN reports.
- The woman visited the Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park, Arizona, and apologized for bringing the zoo negative press and attention.
- Zoo spokeswoman Kristy Morcum said that the woman "feels horrible about the bad publicity the zoo is getting regarding the incident.”
- Local media reported that the woman admitted fault in the incident.
What happened: The zoo said the woman crossed over a barrier to snap a photo of herself and the female jaguar Saturday night. The woman was reportedly injured and received medical attention.
- "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 said in a statement, according to AZ Central.
- According to KPHO, the woman was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive. She was reportedly trying to take a selfie near the fence outside the jaguar enclosure when the animal reached out and attacked her, KPHO reported.
Aftermath: "This is the second time the female jaguar has swiped at someone this month," Wildlife World Zoo Director Mickey Ollson told ABC15.
- He said the animal will not be euthanized because the incident "was not the animal's fault and they would never harm an animal based on human behavior."
- "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."
Outside perspective: Adam Wilkerson, who visited the zoo with his family, said he heard the woman screaming for help and went to assist her, according to CNN.
- "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."
- Wilkerson said that he was standing behind the woman. He said he didn’t want to pull her off.
- "I could see the claws in her actual flesh," he said.