Suspect Arrested For Breaking Into Spider Monkey Habitat At Zoo

(Credit: Screenshot/Instagram Video fitfamelpaso)

Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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A woman has been arrested for allegedly breaking into the spider monkey exhibit at the El Paso Zoo and feeding the critters flaming hot Cheetos.

El Paso police announced Thursday that 26-year-old Luz Elizabeth Rae was arrested and charged for trespassing into the exhibit, Fox News reported.

Video posted to social media depicts a woman, suspected to be Rae, in the spider monkey enclosure. At one point, she sits underneath a waterfall in the enclosure and attempts to feed the monkeys what zoo officials believed to be hot Cheetos, Newsweek reported.

The El Paso Zoo previously claimed it had planned to charge the culprit, and zoo director Joe Montisano said Wednesday that the zoo would first talk to the district attorney, Fox News reported. “This young lady decided to hop a fence, climb through some bushes, drop down into a four-feet deep moat, walk across the moat and then try to feed the spider monkeys,” Montisano said, according to the Associated Press. “We can’t let this behavior go unpunished,” he added.

Typically, spider monkeys’ diet consists of fruit, nuts, brd eggs, leaves, and insects, National Graphic claimed.

Zookeeper Mason Kleist said Rae’s alleged attempt to feed the animals the flaming hot Cheetos could have harmed the animals because of their dietary needs, according to KVIA-TV.

“She’s very fortunate that it didn’t have a worse outcome for her or the animals,” Montisano also said, according to Fox News. “These are primates. They are strong; they have canine teeth. They can scratch. We don’t interact with them on the daily. And we don’t interact with them without a barrier in between us.” (RELATED: Woman Breaks Into A Spider Monkey Exhibit In Texas And Feeds Them In Insane Viral Video)

“We want all of our guests to come and visit the Zoo, enjoy the facility and the animals but certainly to follow the rules. The rules are there to protect our guests, the animals and our staff,” Montisano told Fox News via email Wednesday. “We are now forced to look at ways to modify the exhibit to prevent this from happening again.”

El Paso police also shared their thoughts on the case with Fox News via email. “The El Paso Police Department is investigating a case involving a woman who trespassed into a monkey enclosure at the El Paso Zoo,” the police department wrote.

Rae has reportedly been fired from her job at Lovett Law Firm in El Paso. “We learned this morning that the individual who was filmed trespassing in the spider monkey enclosure of the El Paso Zoo was an employee of Lovett Law Firm. She has been terminated,” Nora Artalejo Lovett, a shareholder of the firm, wrote in a Monday Facebook post.

“The firm has always been a strong supporter of animals and animal advocacy. We absolutely 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 hope that they will recover from this very traumatic experience,” Lovett added.