Animals will be Animals


Courtesy of CNN

A jaguar claws a woman that tried to get a selfie with it up close.

Tiffany Vo, Photojournalist

A woman was clawed by a jaguar located in Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park in Litchfield Park, Arizona. Jumping the concrete barrier, the woman ignored the safety hazards provided by the zoo and decided to get a closer selfie with the wild animal. When she approached the steel fence, the jaguar’s claws reached through the metal barriers and strongly gripped the woman’s arm. It was only when a mother and son teamed up to distract the animal with a water bottle that it loosely released the woman to be safely dragged away, according to NPR.


When the story reached social media, an outpour of support for the jaguar surfaced. Many users pointed out how the woman provoked the animal, leading the jaguar to instinctively act as if she was prey, and that she should have not disobeyed common sense laws. The zoo later confirmed that they were not going to euthanize the jaguar and that they “promise nothing will happen to the jaguar”, for it is not the “wild animals’ fault when barriers are crossed” and that they are sending prayers to the family.

Many users rejoiced upon reading the jaguar’s fate. Famous actor Dylan Sprouse asks if society can “all agree” on not forcing a “death sentence upon wild animals who attack” those who are “too stupid to avoid them.” He goes on to joke that “Karen”, referring to the woman who crossed the barrier, should “not be trying to face tune the Jaguar.”


After the attack, the woman received minimal stitches for her gashes and was not kept overnight at the nearby hospital. The following day after the attack, she revisited the zoo to express her sincerest apologies on the “bad publicity…regarding the incident,” a zoo spokesperson told KTVK. However, the woman still believes that the zoo “should look into their fences back.”


Brenda Perez (12) thought the woman should have not “jumped the barrier in the first place;” it’s “kind of common sense” to “avoid encountering wild animals up close.”


This event is reminiscent of an incident in 2016, during which a three year old boy fell into a gorilla enclosure and encountered a gorilla famously known as Harambe. Because a zoo keeper feared for the boy’s life, they shot and killed the silver back gorilla with an onlooker recording the entire incident. After social media got a hold of the footage, pandemonium erupted as people believed the shooting was unjust. Some blamed the parents for not looking after their son while others blamed the zoo for not having better barriers. Hashtags regarding the death of Harambe circulated the internet as immense media coverage spotlighted the controversy, according to ABC News.


Choosing to ignore the safety warnings is a sure set-up for severe consequences. A thirty year old grown woman should not have to scapegoat the zoo into moving their fences back. As a full adult, she should already understand the dangers of jumping over a concrete barrier to get a closer picture with a wild jaguar. In a similar fashion, a gorilla should not have to pay with its life for human error. Animals should not be punished for reacting with their self-defense instincts. Being trapped at a zoo for human entertainment is punishment enough.