A jaguar attacked a woman who reportedly crossed over a barrier while trying to take a photo Saturday at a West Valley wildlife park, according to fire officials.
Rural Metro Fire crews responded to “a report of a lady attacked by a jaguar” about 6:40 p.m. at the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park near Northern Avenue and Loop 303 in Litchfield Park, said Shawn Gilleland, a spokesman for Rural Metro Fire.
Crews found a woman at the zoo with lacerations to her arm, and she was taken to a hospital, Gilleland said. The jaguar swiped at the woman, according to witnesses.
Zoo officials released a statement Saturday about the incident.
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,” according to the email statement from Kristy Morcom, a spokeswoman for the Wildlife World Zoo.
“The visitor sustained non life threatening injuries to their hand 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,” the statement continued.
The incident is being fully investigated, according to the zoo.
Video taken by Adam Wilkerson, who helped the woman after the attack, shows her on the ground, crying and being attended to by bystanders. A gash is clearly visible on her lower left arm.
“It hurts, it hurts,” she says.
One of the bystanders says in the video they got the jaguar to let go by hitting it with a water bottle.
The zoo is a USDA-licensed, private facility accredited by the Zoological Association of America and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums, according to its website. The facility has more than 600 species and 6,000 animals on display, the website stated.
(📷credit: John Qoyawayma)