LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A woman was attacked by a jaguar at Wildlife World Zoo Saturday evening, according to Rural Metro Fire officials.

It happened around 6:45 p.m.

The woman, who is in her 30s, suffered a laceration on her arm and was taken to the hospital. She is expected to be okay.

Rural Metro officials said the woman was "attempting to take a selfie near the fence of the Jaguar enclosure when the cat reached out and attacked her arm."

We spoke with the director of Wildlife World Zoo.

"There's no way to fix people crossing barriers," said Mickey Ollson, Zoo director. "That happens occasionally. And we put substantial barriers there and if people cross them, they can get in trouble."

Tweets from Wildlife World Zoo also indicated that the victim "went over the barrier for a photo."

The tweets included these messages:

"We regret to inform, b4 [sic] closing there was an incident reported w/a guest, crossing over a barrier to get a photo, according to eyewitnesses. She sustained non-life-threatening injuries to the hand from 1 or our jaguars. At the request of the family, paramedics were called."

"At no time was the animal out of its enclosure."

"Please understand why barriers are put in place."

During an interview with Arizona's Family Sunday, Zoo spokeswoman Kristy Morcom said that the jaguar is currently off the exhibit while they investigate the incident.

[VIDEO: Wildlife World Zoo spokeswoman: 'jaguar will not be euthanized']

Morcom added that the jaguar will not be euthanized.

Another visitor to the zoo, Adam Wilkerson, captured the moments following the attack on video. The video was then posted to Reddit.

The video is very graphic, and you can hear the victim screaming in pain. A deep laceration on the victim's arm was also visible in the video.

Wilkerson said he and his family members heard a female screaming for help, and rushed over to see the woman with her hand against the jaguar enclosure.

He described for us what happened next. 

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

You could see and hear in the video that the woman was in obvious pain.

"She was lying on the ground screaming in agony," Wilkerson posted.

This is apparently not the first time this jaguar has hurt a park visitor. Ollson told us about an incident that happened about a year ago.

"She had scratched a person once before when they crossed the barrier," said Ollson. But he says the other injury was not as serious.

The Humane Society of the United States released a statement following the incident:

"When various types of exhibitors promote all sorts of close encounters with wildlife, people get the mistaken idea that wild animals are approachable. Throw in a healthy dose of poor judgement, and incidents like this are bound to happen. We urge the zoological community exhibitors to set a higher standard to protect people and to respect wildlife from a safe distance by doing away with public contact opportunities with wildlife of all species."

Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park is located in Litchfield Park in the west Valley.


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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(28) comments


Mr. Ollson there's no way to FIX STUPID PEOPLE even emaca

Mohave Born

There is, but that would have been death for the Jaguar. But think of the headlines they could have had with that!
Unfortunately the cat and the zoo will pay the price by her almost winning a Darwin award.


Women need to have the same rights as a women bed-bug. No questions asked. They days this happens the earth will be a better place. Get her!


WHAT ???? I missed it ??? I have been to that great zoo hundreds of times and I would have payed big money to watch some idiot get snatched up by that beautiful animal !! I love watching idiots getting instant results on tier stupidity !!


What if it was one of your kids that got snatched up? Would it still be a "beautiful animal?" I would think that despite being the smartest person on earth, you would at least have basic human compassion and empathy for someone who obviously made a bad judgement call. You would have "payed big money" to see someone get horribly injured or maybe even killed? You're an idiot, and quite sick.


You are the idiot. You don’t think women in general don’t need a guardian or a man to guiding them when they are away from home? I truly believe a federal law needs to come into action immediately that all women starting in Phoenix AZ should not be allowed jywhere when stepping outside their homes. Women these days just simply do not have the brain capacity to be on their own. Women since the beginning of time are meant to stay home and listen to their owners. Meaning their husbands. This needs to be understood more in today’s age. Thank you very much everyone. -Derek (BOA Phoenix)

AZ Native

Hope the selfie was worth it, she got what she deserved. Now you know she's going to sue the zoo and some ignorant judge will award her a nice sum of money. SMH


Fortunately the woman's MAGA hat survived unscathed!

AZ Native

That comment goes right along with the woman being stupid. This wasn't anything political.


HEY DUMBAZZ, you know what it funny about your comment? Anyone with a MAGA hat KNOWS ABOUT BOUNDRIES..and that barriers work. So anyone with a MAGA cap would not cross the barrier. Once again, your ignorant, flawed logic is showing.


So is your lack of English competency: It's boundaries, not boundries. I'm surprised that you can actually spell MAGA.


Durrhurr! Oh man you got me good! [happybirthday][rolleyes]
Full disclosure; I DO know how to spell MAGA; the CORRECT way.
Its spelled in two widely accepted forms:
1- thankgodfortrump and
Now, I know it s a little [offtopic]...but I wanted to make sure you understood the difference. [thumbup]


should have let the jaguar finish it's snack and rid the world of a stupid, self absorbed breeder.




Furthermore, the headline should be "idiotic woman ignores zoo barrier, forcing animal to defend it's territory." The headlines and captions make it sound like this animal is running wild, attacking random people in the zoo.




Let's see; Never step in front of a moving vehicle, Don't cross the street mid-intersection.Red light means stop, Go light means go. Well some words are good to live, but that was then, Stepping in front of a moving vehicle is nothing now, you have to worry about taking a stroll down the sidewalk with people heads down walking into light poles and tripping on curbs.


The more I think about this, it's blowing my mind that it's even newsworthy - and that the woman is being portrayed in any way as a victim. The sheer stupidity of this person is what should be reported in the news.


This woman should be arrested, and made an example of. People have lost their minds - there are more and more of these types of things happening. I have ZERO sympathy for her, and ZERO sympathy for her family with the exception that I'm sorry they're associated with such an idiot

JF Conlon

Don't anyone dare kill that cat!!!


What a beautiful animal! I mean the jaguar. They are uniquely dangerous among the big cats. They are the only cat that usually kills it's prey by biting through the skull and piercing the brain. (There might not be any other creature that does this, I'm not a zoologist.) So this woman is quite fortunate. Selfies are out-of-hand now.


I just do not understand why people do not use common sense when it comes to animals wild or not.


I was there today all day the lady kept reaching in and petting the jaguar several times and even was hopping side to side to get animal to mimic.


You could see and hear in the video that the woman was in obvious pain. (Even though the word "obvious" is redundant, I assume this is after the attack and doesn't refer to her behavior beforehand.


What YOU have failed to understand, is that her behavior beforehand, is EXACTLY what got her into that painful situation in the first place.


Protect the animal. Ban stupid women from park!


Not just stupid women as there are plenty of stupid men. Do stupid stupid and pay the consequences. Sadly, the animal will probably pay for her stupidity.



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