The Arizona woman attacked by a jaguar while she tried to take a selfie at the Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park apologized for her actions on Sunday and admitted it was her fault, the zoo said.
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
Zoo spokeswoman Kristy Morcum told KTVK and KPHO she returned to the zoo and met with its owner. The woman said she loves the zoo and "feels horrible about the bad publicity the zoo is getting regarding the incident." She apologized and admitted fault, Mocum added.
On Saturday, the woman tried to take a selfie with the jaguar when it attacked her arm. Eyewitness Michele Flores pushed a water bottle through the fence to get the animal to let go of the woman.
"She took her one paw off and grabbed the bottle with her mouth, but her other paw was stuck on the lady's shirt," Flores told KPHO and KTVK.
Flores then took the woman's sleeve to pull her away from the animal. Still, the woman suffered a gash on her arm and was taken to a hospital to get stitches.
Adam Wilkerson, another eyewitness, said he heard yelling for help and ran to see what was happening.
"Without thinking, I had no idea what I was going to see, I just ran over there. I saw the other girl up against the fence with her arm caught in the jaguar's claws," Wilkerson told CNN. "I could see the claws in her actual flesh."
Video of the incident went viral over the weekend, forcing the zoo to issue a statement. Zoo officials said the incident will be investigated.
"We regret to inform that this evening, before closing there was an incident reported involving a guest, who crossed over the barrier to get a photo, according to eye witnesses," the statement read. "The visitor sustained non-life threatening injuries to their arm from one of our female jaguars. At the request of the family, paramedics were called. At no time was the animal out of its enclosure."
On Monday, the zoo said the jaguar will not be euthanized, but it was not in its enclosure Sunday. In another statement, the zoo thanked everyone who supported its decision not to euthanize the animal and said they were open to welcoming the woman back to the zoo.
"Wildlife World staff and administrators appreciate her sincere apology and we look forward to welcoming her and her family back at a future date," the zoo said. "At this time, our attention is focused on educating and inspiring thousands of residents, vacationers, and especially Valley school children as out spring field trip season gets underway."0comments
Jaguars are the largest cat in the wild in North and South Africa, and adults can weigh up to 200 pounds, notes ABC News. When one escaped its enclosure at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans last year after hours, one killed nine other animals, including foxes, alpacas and an emu.
Photo credit: Martin Sachse/ullstein bild via Getty Images