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In a video posted to Instagram, a woman El Paso police identified as Lucy Rae, is seen in the El Paso Zoo’s spider monkey enclosure offering the animals Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
The video, posted by KOAT-TV, shows Rae wading in a pool of water toward the monkeys to offer them snacks. She stays in the pool near the waterfall tossing Cheetos at the monkeys before wading back out and climbing out of the enclosure.
El Paso zookeeper Mason Kleist told KVIA-TV that, in addition to being reckless and putting herself in a dangerous situation, Rae also put the animals at risk of catching COVID-19.
“Anything that we have they can get as well. So COVID was no different. So, we took the necessary steps to prevent them from getting it. So, for someone to just go in there and give them food from their hands could just ruin that,” Kleist said.
According to KVIA, after the story aired, the El Paso law firm where Rae worked recognized her. The firm said they didn’t condone her actions and fired her from her position as a litigation assistant.