If you don't want to end up in a precarious situation with a jaguar, maybe don't invade their space in search of a cool photo or whatever. At least, that's partially the lesson a woman has taken from her recent self-initiated encounter with a jaguar at the Wildlife World Zoo near Phoenix, Arizona.
"The black jaguar was up against the fence and we happened to be walking by and said, 'Hey, let's get some good pictures,'" Leanne, who has chosen not to reveal her last name, told CBS Evening News in a recent interview. She admitted she was wrong for crossing the barrier, a move that ultimately resulted in her being clawed. However, she also spread some of the blame to the zoo itself.
"I was in the wrong for leaning over the barrier," she said, adding that she also believes the zoo should overhaul their barrier and fence setup. Asked if going to such measures for a photo was worth it, Leanne confirmed it was not. "We're all humans and we all make mistakes," she said. "I learned my lesson." She has also met privately with zoo officials to apologize.
Zoo officials, however, aren't fans of the shared blame argument. Speaking with reporters regarding the incident, which has now resulted in the temporary removal of the jaguar from the exhibit, Wildlife World Zoo director Mickey Ollson reminded everyone of the message a barrier is meant to send to someone on the other side of it.
"When people do not respect the barriers, there's always a chance there might be a problem," Ollson said.
The zoo also stressed the importance of barrier respect in previous statements on the incident, including their initial release: