A woman who jumped into the spider monkey enclosure at a zoo and fed them Cheetos insists that she “did not do anything wrong”.
Lucy Rae was arrested and lost her job at a law firm in Texas, after a video of the incident at El Paso Zoo went viral last year.
At the time, the zoo’s director Joe Montisano slammed her as “stupid and lucky” after she gave the crisps to two full-sized spider monkeys.
Rae is currently facing a pending criminal trespass case and one year on she’s decided to open up about her bizarre antics.
Speaking to ABC-7, she said she was “shocked” that someone recorded the incident and that it went viral.
“Well, I don’t think I did anything wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong. I did not hurt anyone,” she said.
Rae refused to say why she decided to jump into the enclosure, adding that she won’t be apologising to the zoo.
She explained that her only takeaway from the incident was that she “learned just keep the Cheetos to myself”.
For the latest breaking news and stories from across the globe from the Daily Star, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.
After the clip went viral, zoo officials explained that the spider monkeys were on a strict diet, adding that a sign next to the enclosure asked guests not to feed them.
Rae also received a lot of backlash online.
Mark T Davis, Rae’s boss at the new law firm she works for, has claimed that “no animal was ever abused”.
She herself said that the monkeys weren’t affected by her presence, instead claiming that they were excited.
Dr Victoria Milne, El Paso Zoo’s chief veterinarian, disagrees however, saying: “I can see how people would look at it and see a monkey making noise and jumping around, and that’s really cute and fun, but the people who know those monkeys know they were actually really upset.”
Dr Milne also explained that, although a single Cheeto won’t harm the animals, it wasn’t Rae’s decision to make.
Moreover, she said that people entering the enclosure can be “really disruptive” for the monkeys in the short-term, and “really unhealthy and unsafe” in the long-term.