Woman mauled by jaguar while taking a “selfie” forced to apologize after backlash
Yesterday, we reported on a startling incident from the Wildlife World Zoo near Phoenix, Arizona, involving a female visitor who crossed the safety barriers into the jaguar enclosure in an attempt to capture a "selfie" with the animals.
However, the woman very quickly learned exactly why zoos have barriers in place after one female jaguar clawed at the visitor's arm, leaving her writhing in agony and requiring medical attention for a very nasty looking gash.
Check out the chaotic aftermath of the incident, which occurred on Saturday, in the video below:
In a statement from Shawn Gilleland, a spokesman from the Rural Metro Fire department, it was revealed that the woman in her 30s, "wanted to take a selfie or a picture of the animal, and she put her arm close enough to the cage that the cat was able to reach her".
Eye-witness Adam Wilkerson, who was visiting the zoo with his family, told CNN that the jaguar only released the woman after his mother distracted the large cat by throwing a plastic water bottle into the enclosure.
Following the incident, the zoo tweeted out several updates to their concerned followers, the first one confirming the attack:
Many passionate followers blamed the woman for what happened, including Jeanne Ruairi, who informed the zoo, "If you put the jaguar down, I'll NEVER go there again":
Fortunately, the zoo responded, confirming they will not be putting the big cat to sleep:
And in an update to this story, Kristy Morcum, a spokesperson for Wildlife World Zoo, has revealed to Azfamily that the parkgoer has since returned to the zoo and apologized, saying she "feels horrible about the bad publicity the zoo is getting regarding the incident".
The woman also accepted full responsibility for the incident.
In a tweet, the Wildlife World Zoo said they "appreciate her sincere apology and we look forward to welcoming her and her family back at a future date".
Amazingly, Wildlife Zoo director Mickey Ollson told ABC15 that this was, in fact, the second time this particular jaguar has attacked a parkgoer who has carelessly crossed over the barrier.
"This is the second time the female jaguar has swiped at someone", Ollson said, once again adding that the animal will not be euthanized because it "was not the animal's fault and they would never harm an animal based on human behavior".
Ollson then provided a very important warning to any zoo-goers to respect the barriers put in place:
"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."