SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The story of a woman in Arizona who was scratched by a jaguar after she allegedly crossed a zoo barrier to take a selfie with the animal has been all over social media lately. At the Sacramento Zoo, officials say their staff is trained to not only take care of the animals but also their human guests’ who break the rules.

“All of our staff receives training every month, and then repeated annually, on all kinds of scenarios of [what] they may see at the zoo, [like guests] ... feeding the animals, inappropriate behavior, making poor decisions,” said Matt McKim, Sacramento Zoo’s Director of Animal Care.

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McKim pointed out the fences around the animal enclosures that are designed to discourage people from leaning on, sitting upon, or climbing over. Warning signs around the zoo are in picture format without text, so everyone can easily understand their meaning.

“That’s a purposeful decision. With our signs, we want to provide basic, quick information that anybody of any age or background could easily understand,” explained McKim.

In the event a guest does not heed the direction of zoo employees or signs, other zoo guests are asked to report what they see to a radio-carrying employee or pick up their cell phone and call the member services phone number that is posted near the animal habitats. 

“We encourage all of our guests to help us keep an eye on the facilities and make sure everyone is safe. We are all in this together,” said McKim.

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