Woman Attacked By Jaguar At Zoo Speaks Out About Ordeal
A woman who was attacked by a jaguar at a zoo in Arizona has insisted that she has learned her lesson after leaning over the barrier - but advised the zoo to review their safety standards.
She was out for the day with her family at Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park when the incident with the female animal happened.
Only identified as Leanne, she has spoken out for the first time, saying that the big cat took a swipe at her arm when she leaned through the safety fence, and put her arm in front of it with her camera.
Speaking to CBS News, she said: "The black jaguar was up against the fence we happened to be walking by and said 'hey, let's get some good pictures'.
"I was in the wrong for leaning over the barrier, but I think the zoo should consider moving their fence back."
Passers-by then stepped in to help Leanne, who by this stage was in agony. One visitor, Adam Wilkerson, was at the zoo with his two sons when it all unfolded.
Thinking on his feet, he pushed a water bottle into the enclosure in order to distract the jaguar, while Leanne got help. She was taken to hospital but released later that day with what was described as 'stable, non-life threatening injuries'.
"I never expected this" Leanne said. "I feel like we're all human, we make mistakes and I learned my lesson.
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"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,' she added.
Wilkerson, the passer-by who helped her, said: "This zoo in particular is a lot more open in terms of how close you can get to these animals."
Speaking to the New York Times, he described the barrier as 'a little bit above waist height' for him. He said that it was 'more of a reach than a climb' by Leanne, but he did state that they would be safe for anyone not reaching over them.
He added: "Common sense would say that that would probably not be a good idea."
Since the incident, Leanne has apologised to the owners for any bad publicity, stating that she loves the zoo.
Acc. to @ZooWildlife: "Victim contacted the zoo and wanted to speak to the owner. She came out on Sunday and met with the owner Mickey Ollson. She told him she loves the zoo and feels horrible about the bad publicity the zoo is getting regarding the incident..." pic.twitter.com/e2bK5BnqYf
- Lindsey Reiser (@LindseyReiser) March 11, 2019
Sadly, we're used to less than clever behaviour from people with wild animals, but when the internet became concerned we'd have another 'Harambe' on our hands, the zoo stepped up to confirm that thankfully nothing would happen to the jaguar.
They posted online: "We can promise you nothing will happen to our jaguar. She's a wild animal and there were proper barriers in place to keep our guests safe - not a wild animal's fault when barriers are crossed. Still sending prayers to her and her family."
Featured Image Credit: Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park