Woman attacked by jaguar says Arizona zoo should consider 'moving fence'

Chelsea Ritschel

A woman who was mauled by a jaguar at an Arizona zoo said she was in the “wrong” but that the zoo should consider moving the fence.

The woman, identified as Leanne, was visiting the Wildlife World Zoo near Phoenix on Saturday when she decided to take a selfie with a black jaguar.

According to Leanne, it was a good opportunity for pictures, as the cats were pressed up against the cage.

To take the photo, Leanne leaned over the security barrier with her camera – allowing the cat to reach through the wire fence and scratch her.

Following the incident, the woman, who is in her 30s, told CBS: “The black jaguar was up against the fence and we happened to be walking by and we said: ‘Hey let’s get some good pictures.’”

She then acknowledged she was “in the wrong for leaning over the barrier,” but thinks “maybe the zoo should look into moving their fence back”.

“Anybody can reach out,” she continued. “I’m not the first, and if they don’t move the fence, I’m probably not going to be the last.”

The woman also said she “never expected this” but that “we’re all human” and she’s learned her lesson.

After the incident on March 9 sent the woman to the hospital with non-serious injuries, she originally apologised to the zoo for the “bad publicity”.

According to the zoo, which assured the public that it would not be putting the animal down, the sole issue was the disregard for the barriers.

“We can promise you nothing will happen to our jaguar,” the zoo tweeted the day of the incident. “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.”

According to CBS, a three-foot barrier is in place around the jaguar exhibit.

Last summer, a similar attack involving the same animal occurred, with zoo visitor Jeff Allan requiring several stitches after reaching into the enclosure.

At the time, Allan hired an attorney to persuade the zoo to implement additional safety measures, according to ABC15.

The case never went to court.