Jaguar that attacked selfie-taking US woman won't be put down

A screengrab from a witness' video after the woman was attacked.
A screengrab from a witness' video after the woman was attacked.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM ABC NEWS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A jaguar that attacked a woman at a US zoo after she jumped a barrier to take a selfie with the animal will not be put down, officials said.

"We can promise you nothing will happen to our jaguar," the Wildlife World Zoo in Arizona tweeted on Saturday.

"She's a wild animal and there were proper barriers in place to keep our guests safe - not a wild animal's fault when barriers are crossed."

According to witness accounts, the woman, who has not been identified, on Saturday evening crossed a barrier at the zoo located near Phoenix to take a photo.

The jaguar reached through its enclosure and dug its claws into her arm, refusing to let go until someone threw a water bottle to distract the big cat.

"I hear this young girl screaming, 'help, help, help,' and without thinking, I just run over there," Mr Adam Wilkerson, who was at the zoo, told a local news station.

"I see another girl with her up against the cage of the jaguar and the jaguar has clasped its claws outside of the cage around her hand and into her flesh."

He said his mother threw a water bottle into the cage to distract the animal long enough so that he could pull the woman away.

The woman, in her 30s, reportedly needed some stitches on her left arm and returned to the zoo on Sunday to apologise for her behaviour.