A woman who was mauled by a jaguar while taking a selfie at a zoo has apologized for her behavior.
The unnamed woman returned to the Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park, Arizona on Sunday to admit the incident was her fault and told zoo officials that she was sorry.
‘(She said) feels horrible about the bad publicity the zoo is getting regarding the incident,’ zoo spokeswoman Kristy Morcum told AZ Family.
The woman was attacked by the massive jungle cat after she reached over a barrier to take a selfie with it on Saturday, eyewitnesses said.
‘The claws that were retracted were definitely outside of the cage and grasped around her hand, and she holding her other arm, with her arm attached to the paw just screaming, screaming, screaming, to get out,’ said Adam Wilkerson, who saw the grisly attack.
Wilkerson was at the zoo with his mother and two kids. He said he rushed over when he heard the woman’s terrified screams and his mother distracted the jaguar with a plastic water bottle long enough to free the woman from the animal’s claws.
‘When my mom put the water bottle through the gate, the jaguar let go of the girl. And we pulled the girl back and she collapsed. If it weren’t for my mom’s quick thinking with the water bottle that Jaguar would not have let go of the poor girls arm. We’re still in shock from it all,’ Wilkerson said.
The attack left a huge gash on the woman’s arm and she was rushed to the hospital to get stitches.
Zoo officials said that the jaguar will not be euthanized, but it was not in the enclosure on Sunday.
While the woman cited her remorse over the bad publicity the zoo received following the attack, she has been criticized for her behavior which many believe led to her injuries.
‘Please assure us nothing is happening to the animal due to this stupid human’s actions,’ one user wrote to the zoo on Twitter.
‘We can promise you nothing will happen to our jaguar. She’s a wild animal and there were proper barriers in place to keep our guests safe – not a wild animals fault when barriers are crossed. Still sending prayers to her and her family,’ the Zoo wrote back.
‘The jaguar did not attack her. She attacked him in his space,’ wrote another.
‘A woman crosses a barrier to take a selfie with a jaguar. What did she expect? That it wouldn’t attack her? It’s what she deserves for her stupidity,’ wrote a user in another tweet.
The woman ultimately suffered non-life threatening injuries and is expected to recover. The zoo said the attack occurred because of ‘human error.’