Following the latest viral story of the woman who climbed into a polar bear enclosure is the story of the woman who attempted a selfie with a jaguar. While the events are 10 years removed from each other, this is just another one in the long list of “people interacting with wild animals and it doesn’t go over so well for the people”. After all, we all remember what happened with Harambe (may that gorilla rest in peace), the family that got out of their vehicles in a wildlife park and tried to get closer to the lions, the people who attempted to pet a cheetah and more. In other words, there are a lot of candidates for the Darwin Awards.
Regardless of how cute or how tame the animals may appear to be, they’re anything but the fluffy housecat or dog you have at home. Some people may feel tempted to get a closer look and feel as if they’re “safe” when there’s a fence dividing them. However, the main barriers are there for your protection and most of the animals can reach further through the fences than you’d think is possible. Others watch handlers interact with them and assume that they’ll act just as well towards strangers. However, these handlers are professional trained individuals and even then, there’s nothing to stop the animal from attacking them.
In other words, please don’t put yourself on the list for a Darwin Award. Admire the animals from a safe distance please!
Also for those who are curious (no judgments, we were too) we did include photos from the event. You will find them at the bottom of the page. We decided to put them at the bottom in case people felt squeamish and wanted to read about the attack without being bombarded by the gruesome images.
Headlines all around the world read something like “a young woman who was visiting the Wildlife World Zoo attempts a selfie with a jaguar but it doesn’t end well.” The headlines sum up how the events unfolded pretty well. And if you’re wondering about the last part, yes the woman was largely unhappy with the angles she was getting from the safe distance so she decided to get closer in order to get a better picture.
A woman survived a very close encounter with the large cat on Saturday at an Arizona zoo when she crossed a concrete barrier in order to get closer to the big cat’s cage. Shortly after she crossed the barrier, she put her back to the wire cage and posed for a selfie. As she did so, the cat put her paw through the bars and latched onto the woman’s hand.
The woman in question posed for a selfie extremely close to the animal’s enclosure; all that separated the two were open-air fence bars. The jaguar slipped a paw through the fence and swiped her arm, leaving deep gashes and claw marks. She was also held against the cage bars unable to get away for a few scary moments. Luckily, she was rescued.
She was taken to a local hospital where her injuries were treated, but they were not life threatening. No details have been released as to the exact procedures performed, but we imagine she received a handful of stitches as she was released the same day.
Unfortunately for the woman, the zoo’s staff wasn’t anywhere around when she snuck past the barriers. Obviously they could have prevented her from sustaining any damage by forcing her to come back, but common sense should have told the woman that she shouldn’t be that close in the first place. However, she was lucky that thanks to the actions and quick thinking of a bystander, that she wasn’t injured further.
According to the man who helped her, he heard a young woman yelling for help repeatedly. “Without even thinking about it, I ran over there to see what was going on and how I could assist. Against the jaguar cage is a girl that’s screaming for help and the jaguar has its paw outside of the cage and hooked into her skin and hand. Adam Wilkerson, who also shot the video of the attack’s aftermath, is the man responsible for freeing for the woman. He also told Fox news reporters that his mother threw her water bottle into the cage in hopes of distracting the giant cat.
“The jaguar let of go of the girl’s hand a bit and now just the claws are hooked into her sweater. I figured this was my best chance of helping her, so I grabbed her around the waist and pulled as hard as I could. Her sweater unlatched from the jaguar’s claw and the big cat goes after the water bottle my mom threw,” he further stated.
The jaguar was left unharmed
For those of you who have been holding your breath since the article started, you can finally exhale: the jaguar is very much okay. With Harambe fresh on everyone’s minds, people took to every social media platform possible in an effort to not only question the zoo about the jaguar’s fate, but to rally behind the big cat.
Once the story went viral and the questions began pouring in, the zoo posted to Twitter and told reporters that “nothing will happen to our jaguar”. Whew! The zoo doesn’t believe the animal was at fault and neither do the authorities. And since the woman was pulled free, there was no need to tranquilize or euthanize the big cat in order to get her to let go of the woman.
The zoo went on to the remind the public that the jaguar is “a wild animal. She’s reacting how she would react in nature and how many of us would act if someone was to get that close to our homes and we felt in danger. None the less, we are still sending prayers to both the woman and her family at this time.”
The zoo also reminded the public that “there are proper barriers placed to keep both our animals and guests safe. These barriers are for everyone’s protection and when crossed, it’s not the animal’s fault that tragedies like this happen. Please understand that these barriers are put in place for your protection.”
However, the big cat has been removed from her enclosure while the investigation continues. Not to worry though; she is plenty happy in her temporary location and will return to her home soon.
Ok, but why take a selfie with a jaguar that close?
For the bulk of us, a trip to the zoo is a an excellent way of relaxing for the day and taking some really cool pictures. For the most part, we’re satisfied with snapping photos of the animals from a distance and typically reserve our selfies for the more tame animals like the goats and llamas. Of course, people still take selfies with the wildlife behind the enclosures, but they’re done from a distance ie: behind the safety barriers.
However for a woman who visited the Wildlife World Zoo close to Phoenix, Arizona, she wanted a selfie with the jaguar and wasn’t happy with the available angles. The cage was in the way, her zoom made the photo blurry, the cat was too far away, etc. are possible things that went through her mind. So her solution? Get closer to the cat for the selfie opportunity of a lifetime! After all, how badass would her Instagram account look posing just a foot or so away from this large beautiful cat?
And while the information above seems facetious at best, we assure you that those were her reasons. While she didn’t come right out and say that she wanted to up her Insta game, she told the zoo and reporters that she wanted a better selfie with the jaguar. She wasn’t happy with the distance between her and the animal and assumed she would be fine if she got a little closer. After all, there was still a fence between the two and she thought that would offer her enough protection.
The woman also returned after her stay in the hospital to the formally apologize to the zoo for her careless behavior.
Re-evaluate safety standards?
With all sorts of things happening at zoos and wildlife park like the child slipping into Harambe’s enclosure and now a woman posing for a selfie, many people have begun asking if zoos should re-evaluate their safety procedures. Even the parents of the child who climbed into the enclosure with the gorilla blame the zoo. “My back was turned for such a short amount of time. It should be impossible for my child to climb into the enclosure that quickly.” And people all around the world agree with that sentiment as evidenced on social media and blogs dedicated to the topic.
However, others believe that people need to take a certain level of responsibly for themselves and their loved ones. Common sense should tell you not to climb into a polar bear tank and you should be smart enough to understand that the barriers are put in place for your protection at a certain age. And for kids, they should be minded carefully at parks. After all, they lack the common sense necessary that would tell them that this clearly isn’t a good idea.
While neither side can come to a conclusion, many zoos are left tossing their hands up in the air. They have a number of safety precautions put into place that range from warning signs to barriers to steep enclosures and more. However, the fact that people are still getting through and this close to the enclosures has sparked the notion that maybe more needs to be done. However, with so much already done, many are left wondering what else could possibly be put in place.
And then there’s the fact that the zoo as well as other public spaces are NOT your babysitters. This means that you need to watch and be responsible for not only your children, but for yourselves. The zoo staff can’t be present at every enclosure to watch both you and your family to insure that nothing happens.
Not to mention the cost of refortifying these areas would be tremendously expensive. Zoos already incur a number of operating costs and are pretty expensive to maintain so there’s also the issue of funding. So as of right now, it’s one of those issues that’s still been evaluated.
If you’re here for the photos you’re in luck!
As promised, here are some of the photos that were taken of the woman after the jaguar attack. Some of these are pretty bad so if you’re squeamish, you’ve been warned.
This is the jaguar that attacked her. As you can see from the cage bars, it would be easy to slip a paw or two through and latch onto someone.
We apologize for the blurriness of the photo, but there weren’t any clearer shots of this particular angle. Here you can see the woman lying on her side in pain with some very deep scratches on her arm.
In this photo, the man who saved the woman elevates her arms in order to stop the blood flow until the medical staff arrives on site.
A side by side of the woman and the jaguar that inflicted the wounds. Given the amount of blood and the appearance of the wound, it looks really deep.
Here is a better image of one of the scratch marks from the jaguar. You can see how deep it is. It looks as if the gouge exposed muscle and fat. It’s several layers deep.
Want to see more? You can watch the video link below to see more of the aftermath.
What are your thoughts?
While we’d definitely like to hear what you think of the lady trying to take selfies with the animals, we’d love to hear if you have any thoughts regarding the safety precautions employed by zoos. Do you feel like there are enough barriers in place or do you think the zoo should step up their safety game? If you think they need to up their safety standards, what would you suggest putting in place that would help keep people out of places they’re not supposed to be in?