Wildlife World Zoo Attack

Photo courtesy of Wildlife World Zoo.

April Platt, Class Writer

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Recently, a woman was attacked by a Jaguar at the Wildlife World Zoo located in Litchfield Park, Arizona. Wildlife World Zoo was founded in 1984, focusing on educating the Arizona community in regards to exotic animals and focusing on conservation efforts. Conservation efforts include keeping the oceans clean and reducing plastic usage. The zoo additionally houses a baby animal nursery where they care for newly-born exotic animals. Attractions at the zoo include a variety of animals, ranging from birds and monkeys to large cats, such as: jaguars, cheetahs and lions. Beyond animals, the zoo also lures families in as it features rides such as a rollercoaster, merry-go-round and a zip line.

The attack happened in early Mar. and quickly sparked controversy. Parents attacked the zoo for the jaguar’s ability to reach the woman, while animals rights advocates criticized the woman’s nonchalant attitude towards entering the big cat’s enclosure.

The woman attacked allegedly leaned into the zoo’s Jaguar exhibit in an attempt to take a “selfie”. However, the woman later changed her story, stating that she never crossed the boundaries surrounding the Jaguar’s exhibit.

The attack of one woman at Wildlife World Zoo goes beyond the immediate threat and chaos. Ultimately, the life of a jaguar, a species specified as “near threatened” in terms of population, comes under attack. It is now under the Zoo’s discretion as to whether or not they euthanize the jaguar. Zoo representatives have stated that they will not euthanize the cat following the attack, stating as it only acting naturally in response to someone entering its cage.

This attack has made headlines as the zoo primarily targets a young audience. Children visiting the zoo could have easily been in the place of the woman who was attacked and would have been just as susceptible to being scratched. However, the zoo has come out and stated that all of their facilities are safe and that their animals do not pose an imminent threat to their visitors. One student, senior Evelyn Cardona, stated, “The attack made me very nervous to go back to Wildlife World. I wouldn’t want to be scratched by a jaguar, and this encounter has made me see that it could happen at a simple trip to the zoo.” However, another student, senior Annika Salazar, stated, “I’ve been to the zoo with my sister a few times. I think it’s kind of crazy that someone was attacked there as it seems like one of those impossible scenarios. I don’t think the Jaguar was at fault because it didn’t leave its cage.”

While parents may be concerned, animal rights advocates have taken another spin on the story. Activists are less concerned about the barriers in place at the zoo, and more concerned about whether or not the woman who was attacked entered the exhibit wrongly. Activists state that had the woman not entered the jaguar’s exhibit in search of a selfie, she may not have been attacked.  

So, what should happen in this situation? Is the woman or is the jaguar at fault? Wildlife World Zoo may have decided in favor of the jaguar, but the public opinion is still left open-ended.


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