Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield, Arizona, has announced that it will not euthanize the female jaguar that attacked a woman who crossed a barrier during a visit on March 9.
In an interview with CBS Evening News, the woman in her 30s, identified only as Leanne, said she reached over the concrete barrier surrounding the jaguar enclosure, admitting she leaned too close to the enclosure fencing in an attempt to get an up-close photo of the jaguar. Leanne says the jaguar put her paw through the fence and attacked, leaving her arm bloodied and in need of stitches.
Bystanders helped distract the animal with a water bottle, Inside Edition reported, while another witness pulled Leanne away from the enclosure.
Leanne was in considerable pain as first responders attended to her injuries.
At no time was the jaguar outside of her enclosure, Wildlife World Zoo stated.
“Please understand why barriers are put in place,” the zoo stated in a Twitter post about the incident. “Sending prayers to the family tonight.”
In light of the incident, some readers speculated that the animal may have to be put down for attacking, but Wildlife World staff confirmed that is not being considered.
We can promise you nothing will happen to our jaguar. 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.
— Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park (@ZooWildlife) March 10, 2019
On March 11, zoo officials gave an update, saying Leanne is deeply sorry for her actions and is recovering from the incident.
— Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park (@ZooWildlife) March 11, 2019
“We want to thank everyone who supports Wildlife World and our decision not to euthanize the jaguar after Saturday’s incident,” the zoo posted on Twitter.
“The person involved met privately with zoo officials to acknowledge her regret for her role in the past weekend’s events.”
“I apologized to the zoo because they don’t need this,” Leanne told CBS Evening News. “They don’t need the backlash– the media.”
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
Wildlife World reaffirmed its commitment to educating and inspiring visitors from around the world and is preparing to host school field trips this spring.
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