Woman fired from law firm after seen jumping into zoo spider monkey exhibit

EL PASO, Texas — A woman who was seen jumping into the El Paso Zoo’s spider monkey exhibit has been fired from her job at a Texas law firm.

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The Lovett Law Firm told KVIA that Lucy Rae was the woman seen on video of the incident.

Rae worked as a litigation assistant at the firm in the personal injury division.

A spokesman for the firm told the television station they didn’t condone her behavior.

Zoo director Joe Montisano called the woman “stupid and lucky,” KVIA reported.

Zookeeper Mason Kleist said the monkeys “could do some substantial damage to you,” adding “They may be small monkeys but they can take you to the ground if they wanted to.”

Kleist also said she could have endangered the monkeys Libby and Sunday by feeding them, since they have a specialized diet. Rae’s giving them food could have caused stomach and digestive issues, KVIA reported.

KFOX showed an image of a sign that states, “Please do not fee the spider monkeys. To stay healthy they are on a strictly controlled diet that the zoo provides.”

Kleist also said that the woman could have exposed the monkeys to COVID-19, KVIA reported.

The incident also could have caused an issue with the relationship between the monkeys and the keepers.

“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’s going to take a long time to get them back to where they were and training.”

The zoo is looking to adjust the fences and add cameras, KVIA reported.

The enclosure currently has a moat separating the monkeys from visitors. There’s also a low fence. But that fence may have to be made higher which, according to zoo officials, may block the view, the El Paso Times reported.

Officials are also considering pressing charges, the El Paso Times reported.