After receiving harsh criticism for jumping into a zoo enclosure to 'feed animals Cheetos,' a woman has spoken out. A 37-second video of Lucy Rae in the El Paso Zoo in Texas, US, became viral around this time last year.
Woman Who Fed Cheetos To Spider Monkeys At Zoo Says She Didn't Do Anything Wrong
Rae, on the other hand, insists she 'did nothing wrong.'
Rae told ABC-7 that she was "shocked" that she had been filmed and had "gone viral" after hopping into the spider monkey's enclosure.
"I don’t think I did anything wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong. I did not hurt anyone," she said.
Rae's lawyer, Mark T. Davis, has stated that his client's acts have never hurt any animals.
Despite signs banning visitors from feeding the monkeys and zoo officials mentioning the animal's strict diet, Davis pointed to other videos online showing monkeys enjoying 'popcorn' and 'beer.'
Even though viewers may view the video and observe a monkey making noise and hopping around as being very charming and fun, Dr. Victoria Milne, who has over 16 years of experience working with spider monkeys, claims the animals were ' upset.'
While a few Cheetos may not have caused much harm to the animals, Dr. Milne believes Rae's most serious offense was the disruption she created to the primates.
She said: "Just having people jump in and do whatever they feel like can be disruptive for those animals in the short-term and unhealthy and unsafe for those animals in the long-term."
Rae claimed there was no sign prohibiting visitors from entering the enclosure.
Dr. Milne responded: "In the society, we live in, in general, a fence without a gate is a barrier that means you’re not supposed to go in there."
Rae was 'terminated' from her work at Lovett Law Firm as a result of her behavior and the viral footage. El Paso cops also arrested her for criminal trespass.
According to a police representative, the investigation is still ongoing.
Rae has not been banned from the zoo since the case is still being litigated, according to a zoo representative, and no action will be taken until the case is concluded.
Rae's lasting reflection on the incident was: "I learned just keep the Cheetos to myself. I can’t share."