Shocking moment jaguar attacks woman as she climbs barrier to take selfie at zoo

The Wildlife World Zoo in Arizona confirmed the big cat did not leave its enclosure, asking visitors to ‘please understand why barriers are put in place’

A jaguar attacked a woman at a zoo after she climbed a barrier to take a selfie.

The animal reached out and grabbed the woman’s arm with its paw, leaving her with cuts which required medical attention.

The attack took place in the big cat’s enclosure at Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park near Phoenix, Arizona at approximately 6.40pm on Saturday.

Shawn Gilleland, spokesman for the Rural Metro Fire Department, told the Washington Post that her injuries were not life-threatening.

Paramedics were called “at the request of the family” to treat the unidentified woman, who is in her 30s.

The zoo confirmed that “at no time was the animal out of its enclosure”, asking visitors to “please understand why barriers are put in place”.

In a tweet, it added: “Sending prayers to the family tonight.”

One witness, Adam Wilkerson, told AZFamily.com that he and his mother heard the woman scream Saturday evening and ran to help.

“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.

“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.”

Mr Wilkerson captured footage of the aftermath of the attack, which shows the woman breathing quickly and whimpering in pain.

Other visitors rushed to her aid, checking her injuries and maneuvering her onto her side.

Mickey Ollson, the owner of the zoo, confirmed that the same jaguar scratched another guest who had crossed the barrier to its enclosure, saying “there’s no way to fix people crossing barriers”.

He added: “We put substantial barriers there and if people cross them, they can get in trouble.”

Mr Ollson told ABC Arizona the jaguar, aged between four and five years old, will not be euthanised because the attack was “not the animal’s fault”.

The park will consider putting in place additional barriers to avoid similar incidents.

The Wildlife World Zoo, which holds more than 600 species and 6,000 animals, is licensed private facility, according to its website.