Updated: May 27, 2021 11:36:23 am
In a shocking incident, a woman in the US climbed into a enclosure of primates at El Paso zoo in Texas in a bid to feed the animals some Hot Cheetos. The woman’s actions were caught on camera and the video has taken social media by storm.
In the video going viral, the young woman crossed into the spider monkey enclosure and interacted with the animals in a very close proximity along the water body in their habitat.
The video shows the woman giggling and enjoying sitting on a rock in the pen as she handed out the snacks to the monkeys. After feeding them for a while, she was seen walking across the waterbody and coming out of the enclosure with someone’s help.
After the video began to circulate online, it also reached the zoo authorities. “My phone lit up, along with my boss’s,” Director Joe Montisano told the Washington Post. He described the woman as “stupid” and “lucky,” and he said zoo officials want her to face charges.
However, the report quoting El Paso Police Detective Diane Mack said that no arrests have been made yet, but the agency is currently investigating the incident.
Montisano confirmed to Newsweek that the woman was trying to feed the monkeys Hot Cheetos, but the primates were not hurt — although it’s unclear if they actually ate the unapproved snacks.
Anyone found guilty of trespassing in El Paso faces up to a $2,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail, police spokesman Sgt. Enrique Carrillo told the New York Post.
“It’s extremely dangerous. I mean these are primates we’re talking about here, so they can do some substantial damage to you. They have large canines, they’re stronger than they look. They may be small monkeys, but they are extremely strong. They can take you to the ground if they wanted to,” zookeeper Mason Kleist was quoted by KOAT News.
Kleist also stressed that the monkeys have a specialised diet and feeding them things outside that could give the animals stomach-ache and other bowel disruptions. The woman’s gesture also put the animals at risk to Covid, the report added.
The zoo director also told ABC-7 that they do plan on pressing charges and will look at installing cameras and modifying the fences preventing such incidents don’t happen in the future.
However, as the public rage grew, the woman was identified Lucy Rae by KVIA. Rae who had been a litigation assistant in a local law firm has been subsequently fired.
Calling her behaviour “irresponsible and reckless”, Lovett Law Firm in a statement informed: “She has been terminated.” “We support the El Paso Zoo and our thoughts go out to the spider monkeys, Libby and Sunday, and hope that they will recover from this very traumatic experience,” the statement continued.
People not only slammed the woman for giving food with artificial ingredients to the monkeys but also stressed that the primates could have been euthanised if they had attacked her. Many cited the killing of Harambe as an example.
In 2016, a three-year-old boy climbed into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden and was grabbed and dragged by Harambe, a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla. Fearing for the child’s life, a zoo worker had shot and killed Harambe.
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