Woman says she distracted jaguar after attack at Arizona zoo

National/World

PHOENIX (AP) — A woman on a trip to an Arizona zoo with her son and grandchildren reacted swiftly when a jaguar attacked another visitor who had crossed a barrier to take a selfie with the wild animal.

Michele Flores said Monday she grabbed a water bottle from a stroller and put it through an enclosure, distracting the jaguar.

The cat took one paw from the woman in the enclosure, but the other got stuck in her sleeve until Flores’ son helped pull her to safety.

The jaguar then grabbed the bottle and walked away.

“If it’s my own kids I would have frozen scared to death but since it wasn’t, it was OK, I knew I had to try something,” Flores said.

Flores’ son later took widely circulated video showing the injured woman on the ground with deep gashes and blood, writhing in pain.

The attack occurred Saturday at Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park, a privately owned facility outside Phoenix.

The woman suffered deep cuts and was recovering. She has not been identified.

The zoo has said the jaguar never left its enclosure and won’t be euthanized.

A spokeswoman said the injured visitor had returned to the facility and said she felt bad about the publicity it was getting.

The zoo is home to 600 exotic and endangered species, with a total of 6,000 animals, including leopards, lions, white tigers and ocelots.

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