A woman who was visiting the Wildlife World Zoo near Phoenix, Arizona appears to have been unsatisfied with the angles available for a selfie with a jaguar. So she decided to climb over a barrier to get a better shot, closer to the animal. But then the jaguar reached out and swiped at her, clawing the woman and leaving a deep gash in her arm.
“I hear this young girl screaming ‘help, help, help’ and without thinking, I just run over there. I see another girl with her up against the cage of the jaguar and the jaguar has clasped its claws outside of the cage around her hand and into her flesh,” Adam Wilkerson, an eyewitness who shot a video of the aftermath, told a local Fox affiliate. Wilkerson said his mom then threw a water bottle in the cage in an effort to distract the jaguar. “The jaguar lets go of the girl somewhat because the claw catches on just her sweater. At that moment, I grabbed the girl around the torso and pulled her away from the cage and it unlatches from her claw. The jaguar just goes after the bottle,” he added.
The woman, who is in her 30s, returned to the zoo to apologize after she was released from the hospital. “Please understand why barriers are put in place,” the zoo wrote on Twitter. As the story started spreading, the zoo assured “nothing will happen to our jaguar” as authorities don’t think the animal was at fault. “She’s a wild animal and there were proper barriers in place to keep our guests safe- not a wild animals fault when barriers are crossed. Still sending prayers to her and her family,” the zoo said.