A jaguar at a Florida zoo swiped at a man on Wednesday after he climbed over a barrier, according to multiple reports.
The man, who was not identified, was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after climbing over a wooden barrier at the jaguar display at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, The Florida Times-Union reported.
Kelly Rouillard, zoo marketing director, told the newspaper that the man went over a waist-high safety barrier that put empty space between visitors and the jaguar exhibit's fence.
Rouillard told the newspaper that the man was “looking to interact” with the jaguar, 12-year-old Harry, “closer than he should have.” The cat took swipes at the man through the metal fence.
The zoo doesn’t plan to press charges against man, who they say wasn’t acting with “malicious intent.” But Rouillard told the Times-Union that the cat was "acting as part of his normal behavior for a wild animal."
Zoo officials said this is the only time someone has been injured at the exhibit since it opened more than a decade ago, according to News4Jax.
One witness told the news outlet that she saw employees cleaning up blood while the man was taken out.
Dan Maloney, deputy zoo director, told the news outlet that the man “wasn’t using his head,” adding that if the jaguar had latched on, “it would have been a very different story.”
The Hill has reached out to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens for comment.