Florida Man Injured by Jaguar After Climbing Over Barrier at Jacksonville Zoo

A man was injured Wednesday after he was attacked by a jaguar after climbing over the barrier at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Florida.

Jaguar at Zoo

Photo by Dave Rushen via Getty Images

Jaguar at Zoo

Florida man was injured this week after he was attacked by a jaguar at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

NBC News reports the incident occurred on Wednesday at the Range of the Jaguar display. According to zoo officials, a 12-year-old big cat named Harry swiped at the man after he jumped over the safety barrier between the viewing area of the jaguar exhibit and the fence.

“This was an individual that wasn’t using his head,” Jacksonville Zoo Deputy Director Dan Maloney told News4Jax. “Jaguars are really powerful animals. If that animal would have latched on, it would have been a very different situation.”

The unidentified man, who’s believed to be in his 20s, was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

“He is lucky to still have his hand,” Maloney told the news outlet.

Witnesses said that the man appeared to be antagonizing the jaguar before he made contact with the animal. He reportedly began taunting the jaguar and reached his hand through the fence before jumping over the barrier.

Maloney, who has been at the zoo for more than a decade, told the news station that an incident like this was a first for him.

“It never happened in my 11 years here and I hope it never happens again,” he said. “We take painstaking efforts to keep people safe at the zoo.”

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens announced on Thursday that it does not intend to press charges against the man.

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