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Selfie-seeking woman slashed by jaguar after she hopped zoo barrier for a pic


Witnesses say she climbed over a concrete wall to reach the animal's enclosure, seeking a close-up

DeAgostini/Getty Images

A woman was attacked by a jaguar in Arizona on Saturday evening, after she crossed a barrier at a zoo in what authorities say was an attempt to take a selfie with the big cat.

What are the details?

Officials told AZFamily.com the unnamed woman had jumped the first of two barriers to the cat's enclosure while "attempting to take a selfie" when the animal attacked. According to a zoo spokeswoman, the double-barrier system meets USDA guidelines for predators such as jaguars, NBC News reported.

Bystanders were able to pull the woman to safety by distracting the cat with a plastic water bottle. She was taken to a hospital for treatment to a laceration to her arm.

Witness Adam Wilkerson told AZFamily, "My mom runs up and takes her water bottle and shoves it through the cage near where the jaguar is, and the jaguar goes to let go of the girl to take the water bottle, and the claw just catches this girl's sweater."

"So at that point, I see that it's no longer attached to the girl's actual arm, only her sweater," he recalled. "So I grab the girl on her torso, and I pull her back."

Wilkerson captured video of the panicked woman in the aftermath of the attack, which was widely distributed to the media.

Wildlife World Zoo announced the incident on Twitter, urging visitors to "please understand why barriers are put in place."

The zoo sent another message on Sunday, assuring the public that "nothing will happen to our jaguar," and adding that it's "not a wild animal's fault when barriers are crossed."

Following the incident, Kitty Block, the president of The Humane Society of the United States issued a statement calling for zoos to "set a higher standard to protect people and to respect wildlife from a safe distance," the Washington Post reported.

"People get the mistaken idea that wild animals are approachable," Block added. "Throw in a healthy dose of poor judgment, and incidents like this are bound to happen."

Anything else?

According to CBS News, the injured woman was unhappy about the video footage of her being circulated but grateful for her rescuers. She met with the zoo owner on Sunday and apologized for what she called "a foolish decision," NBC News reported.

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