‘Stupid and lucky’ woman blasted by zoo for climbing into enclosure to feed monkeys Hot Cheetos

‘These are primates we’re talking about, they could do some substantial damage to you,’ zookeeper says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Monday 24 May 2021 18:02
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Zoo criticises ‘stupid’ woman who climbed into enclosure to feed monkeys
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The director of the El Paso Zoo in western Texas has called a woman “stupid and lucky” after she climbed into a spider monkey enclosure and allegedly fed the monkeys Hot Cheetos.

Zookeeper Mason Kleist said the woman didn’t only put herself at risk, but endangered the two monkeys, Libby and Sunday, by feeding them. The primates have a special diet, and diverting from it could cause stomach issues.

While the Zoo hasn’t specified what the woman fed the monkeys, social media posts suggest it could have been Hot Cheetos.

“These are primates we’re talking about, they could do some substantial damage to you,” Mr Kleist told local TV station ABC-7. “They may be small monkey’s but they can take you to the ground if they wanted to.”

The zookeeper added that the woman also put the monkeys at risk of contracting diseases.

“Anything that we have they could get as well, so Covid is no different,” Mr Kleist added. “We took the necessary steps to prevent them from getting that, so for someone to just go in there and give them food from their hands could just ruin that.”

The zookeeper said the woman also put the relationship between the monkeys and the zoo workers in jeopardy.

“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,” Mr Kleist told ABC-7. “It's going to take a long time to get them back to where they were.”

Zoo director Joe Montisano said they plan to press charges, install surveillance cameras and adjust the fences to make sure something like this never happens again.

The video of the incident was shared on Instagram by the account FitFamElPaso, who wrote: “This is (unfortunately) real: A local woman crossed into the spider monkey enclosure at the El Paso Zoo today and fed them... Hot Cheetos.”

One Instagram user commented: “This is why El Paso can’t have nice things.”

Another responded: “Exactly, I always say we will never be like Phoenix or New York because of people like this.”

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