LITCHFIELD PARK (3TV/CBS 5) -The woman who was attacked by a jaguar at Wildlife World Zoo is telling her story for the first time.
[ORIGINAL STORY: Woman attached by jaguar at Wildlife World Zoo]
The zoo told Arizona’s Family that the woman was attempting to take a selfie when she reached over the barrier Saturday, but she refuted that claim Monday in an exclusive interview with CBS Evening News.
The woman wished to only identify herself as Leanne.
“I never crossed the barrier. I was not trying to get a selfie. If I was trying to get a selfie, I think my injuries would be in a different place,” Leanne said. “I was never in the enclosure. I never passed the barrier, but I do admit to leaning over the barrier.”
[EXTENDED INTERVIEW: "I’m not the first ..."]
The zoo said Leanne apologized for the incident, but on Monday she said the apology was not meant as an admission of trying to take a selfie.
“I apologized to the zoo because they don’t need this. They don’t need the backlash-- the media. I never went to the media; I never would have. I didn’t want this big thing that’s now apparently national,” Leanne said in the interview with CBS Evening News.
She said the jaguar’s paw came through the fence—a fence that she would now like to see moved back.
“I was in the wrong for leaning over the barrier, but I do think the zoo should look into move their fence back,” Leanne said. “I was told that it was at federal regulation, but if that jaguar can get her paw through the fence, 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 she’s offered to start a fundraiser to raise the money to move the fence back because she enjoys visiting the zoo.
“I grew up here. I go to the zoo all the time. I live close to the zoo. I take my kids to the zoo. I don’t want that to change,” she said.
Arizona's Family reached out to the Wildlife World Zoo Monday afternoon for further comment on this incident, but has not heard back.