Luz Rae, 26, has been charged with criminal trespass after allegedly jumping into spider monkey enclosure at El Paso Zoo
A woman caught on video jumping over a barrier to feed Hot Cheetos to spider monkeys in a zoo has been arrested.
Luz Elizabeth Rae, 26, was booked for criminal trespass on Thursday morning, El Paso police announced. She was taken to El Paso County Jail with $ 1,500 bail.
In a video that went viral online, Rae can be seen getting up close to two of the spider monkeys at El Paso Zoo, Libby and Sunday.
She then feeds something to the spider monkeys, later identified as Hot Cheetos.
She tried to feed them Hot Cheetos, [but]It’s still unclear whether they actually ate it, ”said Joe Montisano, zoo director Newsweek. “The video shows they were more disturbed by being there than worrying about the food,” he said of the monkeys.
At the end of the video, someone in a blue shirt helps pull her out of the fence.
Rae, a process assistant, was identified by ABC-7 as the woman behind the barrier; the images were taken sometime over the weekend and posted on Instagram by Fit Fam El Paso last Sunday.
Although after the footage went viral, Lovett Law Firm in Texas, where Rae worked, fired her, she appears to have picked up a new performance at the Mark Davis Law Firm.
On Tuesday, Mark Davis re-posted Lovett Law Firm’s statement to Facebook, writing, “Shame on you and cancel your culture!”
Davis went on to bash the rival law firm before calling Rae “ my new paralegal. ” “She was out of work because of your snide, now a proud member of my law firm,” Davis wrote.
A woman is in big trouble after being seen staying at the El Paso Zoo this weekend
In the photo: Luz Rae, who has been identified as the woman in the viral video
El Paso Zoo staff were unaware of what had happened until they saw the video afterwards.
Montisano called the woman ‘stupid and happy’ in responses to ABC-7.
“This young lady decided to jump a fence, climb through some bushes, fall into a four-foot-deep moat, walk across the moat, and then try to feed the spider monkeys,” Montisano told the El Paso Times.
Spider monkeys are usually between 14 and 26 inches long and about 13.25 pounds, according to National Geographic. It is not clear how big these monkeys are. They are “mostly irritated by human contact,” says NatGeo.
They can become violent towards people, experts at the Columbus Zoo and Ohio Aquarium.
Rae not only endangered herself, but also endangered the monkeys by changing their diet and potentially exposing them to COVID-19.
Luz Rae crossed a barrier to enter the spider monkeys’ enclosure
Once there, Rae (hidden by the waterfall) fed the two spider monkeys Hot Cheetos
The zoo blamed her for possibly exposing the monkeys to hazards such as COVID-19
“Anything we have they can get too, so COVID is no different,” zookeeper Mason Kleist told ABC-7. “We took the necessary steps to prevent them from getting that, so if someone just went in there and handed them food out of their hands, that could just ruin that.”
Kleist also expressed frustration with how the actions in the video could affect the training required for the monkeys to work with the zoo’s staff.
“ It takes years to build trust with these animals and for someone to come in there for five minutes for a video on Instagram or whatever, just ruins years of work, ” Kleist said.
“It will take a long time to get them back to where they were and train.”
Montisano did tell Newsweek after the incident that Sunday and Libby are going well.
After allegedly feeding the monkeys, the woman quickly left the enclosure
Still, she could be identified by ‘six to eight people’ as early as Sunday
She was taken to safety without being harmed, but the zoo is looking at a report
“The spider monkeys are fine,” said Montisano. “Maybe a little shocked by the incident, but they’re okay.”
After the video went viral, the law firm Lovett distanced itself from Rae’s actions.
Rae also faces the fallout from her former employer
“We learned this morning that the person who entered the spider monkey exhibit at the zoo was an employee and that she was immediately fired,” said Rob Lovett.
Lovett added, “The company has always been a strong supporter of animals and advocacy. We do not condone this irresponsible and reckless behavior. We support the El Paso Zoo and our thoughts go out to the spider monkeys, Libby and Sunday, and we hope they recover from this traumatic experience. ‘
Montisano told the Times that the zoo received numerous calls on Sunday about the woman in the video.
“Your friends will betray you in an instant,” Montisano said. ‘On Sunday we had about six to eight people. I probably know more about this young lady than my own daughter. ‘
The zoo planned to press charges against Rae for violating their security protocol.
Lovett law firm announced they had terminated ‘an employee’ after she was identified in the video. Rae was a litigation assistant at the office before her dismissal
Pictured: Luz Rae, the woman in the viral video
The zoo plans to change the fences and install new security cameras to prevent these kinds of incidents in the future.
‘We’ve stepped up our patrols and have volunteers to keep a closer eye on. But maybe we should increase the fence to block the view, ”Montisano said.
The Times indicates that this is not the first security incident at the zoo in recent months.
In March, another viral video showed a parent lowering their child to the wrong side of the barrier of a chimpanzee exhibit, although not where the animals in the exhibit lived.
Rae is unlikely to face additional costs, such as for animal cruelty.
“Under the Texas Criminal Code, it doesn’t appear to be anything more serious than a criminal offense,” said attorney Justin Underwood. KFOX14.
In this case, there is no evidence that she mistreated them or gave them poison. So I don’t believe there would be enough evidence [for animal cruelty], ”added attorney Matthew James Kozik.