Any time you visit a public park or zoo with potentially-dangerous animals on the premises, you’ll do good to observe that the location has invested oodles of money into safety barriers with the intent of keeping the animals in, and perhaps more importantly, keeping any human visitors out.
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With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that a woman who purportedly crossed a strategically-placed animal barrier at Arizona’s Wildlife World Zoo recently made headlines this week, and for all the wrong reasons. As it would seem, she was trying to get a selfie closer to one of the zoo’s captive jaguars, and that’s when it happened…
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the captive jaguar behaved precisely how anyone would expect a sizeable predatory cat to act. Upon being presented with an opportunity to lash out at something smaller than itself, the jaguar reached out (somewhat violently) with its claw and made physical contact with the woman’s arm, who was later reported to have sustained deep lacerations.
Emergency personnel were quickly phoned, and the woman was rushed to a local hospital to be treated. Fortunately, her injuries weren’t life-threatening, but the scars that will be left behind will go on to remind her (and others) why those animal safety barriers were erected to begin with.
"There's no way to fix people crossing barriers," commented Micky Ollson, the director of Wildlife World Zoo. "That happens occasionally. We put substantial barriers there, and if people cross them, they can get in trouble."
The woman who sustained the scratch from the zoo’s captive jaguar is expected to make a full recovery and has since acknowledged that she was in the wrong when passing the park’s barrier.
This is purportedly the second incident where this particular jaguar has attacked a human guest; however, both instances involved a person wrongfully passing the zoo’s safety barriers. With that in mind, neither case can be deemed the jaguar’s fault.
Given the circumstances, the jaguar has been temporarily removed from the exhibit pending investigation, but the zoo has already acknowledged that it will not euthanize or impose disciplinary action on the jaguar. That aside, the zoo is now considering the idea of reinforcing its barriers to prevent further mishaps like this one going forward.
Despite how tempting it might be to get a close-up selfie with nature’s beautiful animals, it’s a good idea to abide by park rules and stay on the safe side of any erected barriers. Follow this Cardinal Rule, and you won’t be lashed out at by any captive animals, nor will you be humiliated by viral headlines.