Woman injured by jaguar apologizes but suggests zoo should move fence
Litchfield Park, Ariz. — Leanne, who asked that her last name not be used, knows she's lucky to tell her story after she was clawed by a jaguar at an Arizona zoo.
"The black jaguars was up against the fence and we happened to be walking by and we said, 'Hey let's get some good pictures,'" Leanne said.
Cellphone video captured the moment right after a jaguar at the Wildland World Zoo reached through the fence and severely scratched Leanne.
"I was in the wrong for leaning over the barrier," she said. "But I do think that maybe the zoo should look into moving their fence back."
A 3-foot barrier was supposed to keep the jaguar and people separated. The big cat has been removed from the exhibit, at least temporarily.
"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," Leanne said.
In fact, the exact same thing happened at this same enclosure with the same jaguar just last summer. Jeff Allan received several stitches, and said the zoo put its barrier too close.
But zoo officials maintain the rules just weren't followed.
"When people do not respect the barriers, there's always a chance that there might be a problem," said zoo director Mickey Olson.
Leanne is hoping to turn her too close encounter into an example.
"I never expected this. I feel like we're all human, we make mistakes and I learned my lesson," she said.
She said her her next close up may be a bit further away.
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