“I think the zoo should consider moving their fence back.”
A man who filmed the aftermath of a woman being mauled by a jaguar at an Arizona zoo Saturday said that she had failed a test of “common sense.”
Adam Wilkerson was at the Wildlife World Zoo near Phoenix with his mother and two sons when he saw the attack.
He acknowledged that the zoo lets “visitors to get closer to the animals” than some others do. But he added: “Common sense would say that that would probably not be a good idea.”
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Wilkerson told The New York Times on Monday that his mother shoved a water bottle into the cage to distract the wild cat, and he began recording the scene with his phone.
In the video, the woman can be seen receiving assistance from other zoo patrons as she writhes on the ground in pain. She repeatedly cries out: “It hurts.”
Leanne, as she was identified, told CBS News Monday that she had noticed the jaguar pressed against its cage and saw an opportunity to “get some good pictures.”
“I was in the wrong for leaning over the barrier,” she said in her first public comments since the incident. “But I do think that maybe the zoo should look into moving their fence back.”
She reportedly stretched across a 4-foot gap between the security wall and the jaguar’s enclosure and positioned her camera in front of the jaguar, which responded by reaching its paw through the cage and clawing her arm.
Leanne also apologized to the zoo and admitted to CBS that she shares some of the blame for her mauling, saying: “I feel like we’re all human. We make mistakes, and I learned my lesson.”
However, she warned that someone else could be next.
“Anybody can reach out. I’m not the first, and if they don’t move the fence, I’m probably not going to be the last,” Leanne said.
In fact, last summer, a man named Jeff Allan leaned over the same barrier and was clawed by the same cat, resulting in a gash that also required stitches.
Allan later hired an attorney in an attempt to convince the zoo to improve its safety measures, but the case never made it to court.
But he zoo, which has temporarily removed the jaguar from its enclosure, said that people just need to follow the rules.
“When people do not respect the barriers, there’s always a chance that there might be a problem,” said zoo director Mickey Olson.
Seekers of social media likes or just a selfie – in many cases millennials – have repeatedly made headlines in recent years with ill-advised risk-taking. According to a 2018 study, 259 deaths from October 2011 to November 2017 were a result of attempted selfies.
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