Jaguar attacks Arizona zoo visitor, witnesses distract animal with water bottle, reports say

A woman who was said to be in her 30s was attacked by a jaguar Saturday evening at Wildlife World near Phoenix, according to reports.

The woman, who had been near a fence of the jaguar’s enclosure, was attempting to snap a photo when the animal suddenly attacked, FOX 10 of Phoenix reported.

She was taken to a hospital for injuries that were described as non-life-threatening, the report said. Paramedics said she had lacerations on one of her arms, the Arizona Republic reported.

A jaguar walks in a public zoo in Zacango, Mexico, Aug. 17, 2011. (Associated Press)

A jaguar walks in a public zoo in Zacango, Mexico, Aug. 17, 2011. (Associated Press)

Nevertheless, the encounter with the wild animal was a frightening moment, one witness told FOX 10.

"I hear this young girl screaming 'Help! Help! Help!,' and without thinking, I just run over there,” Adam Wilkerson said. “I see another girl with her up against the cage of the jaguar and the jaguar has clasped its claws outside of the cage around her hand and into her flesh.

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"I hear this young girl screaming 'Help! Help! Help!,' and without thinking, I just run over there.”

— Adam Wilkerson, witness who assisted zoo visitor

"My mom thinks of how to distract the jaguar and she grabs her water bottle and she shoves it through the cage, right near where the jaguar is," Wilkerson continued. "The jaguar lets go of the girl somewhat because the claw catches on just her sweater. At that moment, I grabbed the girl around the torso and pulled her away from the cage and it unlatches from her claw. The jaguar just goes after the bottle.”

No further information was available about the woman or her medical condition, the report said.

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Later, the zoo issued the following statement:

"We regret to inform that this evening, before closing there was an incident reported involving a guest, who crossed over the barrier to get a photo, according to eyewitnesses. The visitor sustained non-life threatening injuries to their hand from one of our female jaguars. At the request of the family, paramedics were called. At no time was the animal out of its enclosure. The incident is being fully investigated."