Woman clawed by jaguar at zoo says it was a "crazy accident"

Woman clawed by jaguar: "Crazy accident"

A woman is recovering after a jaguar attacked her at the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park in Arizona on Saturday, but she told CBS News she was not "attacked," instead calling it a "crazy accident." The jaguar has been taken out of the exhibit while the zoo investigates, but officials insist the animal won't be put down because it was not at fault, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner. 

Cellphone video captured the unidentified woman crying out in pain after her encounter with a jaguar at the Wildlife World Zoo. A 911 caller described the woman's arm "in pretty bad shape."
 
Authorities said the woman crossed a concrete barrier to take a selfie when the animal reached out and clawed her arm.
 
"The claws that were retracted were definitely outside the cage and grasped around her hand. And she was holding it, her other arm, with her hand attached to the paw, just screaming, screaming, screaming to get out," witness Adam Wilkerson said.
 
His mother used a water bottle to get the jaguar to let go of the woman.
 
"I grabbed it and started to push it into the cage ... and so that's when she took her one paw off and grabbed the bottle with the mouth," witness Michele Flores said.

The injured woman told CBS News she's grateful to her rescuers, but unhappy their video was made public. She did not admit to entering the enclosure surrounded by a concrete barrier, which does meet federal guidelines. 
 
"When people do not respect the barriers, there's always a chance there might be a problem," zoo director Mickey Ollson said.

jaguar attack
This image shows the jaguar at Wildlife World Zoo on Sat., March 9, 2019. KPHO-TV

Last year, another zoo visitor said the same jaguar scratched him as he was taking a video.
 
"Just one swipe with the paw can do a lot of damage. It's also really hard on the animal. It's really stressful," Humane Society of the United States president and CEO Kitty Block said.
 
Animal rights activists say invading the animal's space causes anxiety. But the draw of posting a great image on social media has prompted a growing number of people to do just that, putting their safety at risk.
 
"We're in a part of society, our culture, where we want that great picture but that's at too great a cost," Block said. "It could have been so much worse ... for the animal and the person who tried to intercede and help her."

The woman received stitches and was released Sunday from an area hospital. The zoo said she met with the zoo owner Sunday and apologized for her actions. The zoo said she admitted she was wrong.