'I Didn’t Do Anything Wrong' Says Woman Who Jumped Into Monkey Enclosure

Daniel Mitchell-Benoit
Rae sitting under a waterfall feature as two spider monkeys approach her from the opposite side.
instagram | @fitfamelpaso

A woman who jumped into a zoo enclosure in El Paso recently took to the media to campaign for her innocence, genuinely believing she did nothing wrong after she was caught on camera attempting to give a group of spider monkeys some Cheetos.

While her lawyer brings up a few points in her defense, animal experts are slamming her still for her poor behavior.

This time last year, one zoo-goer took it upon herself to enhance her experience.

Rae sitting under a waterfall feature as two spider monkeys approach her from the opposite side.
instagram | @fitfamelpaso

Lucy Rae was at the El Paso Zoo in Texas when she was caught on camera jumping into one of the enclosures to try and feed the monkeys there some snacks, Cheetos specifically.

The video went viral online, where she received a fair bit of criticism.

Now she's speaking out on the matter.

One of the spider monkeys approaching Rae even closer.
instagram | @fitfamelpaso

She was recently interviewed by ABC-7, where she said she was "shocked" to learn that she had been filmed at all. She also believes she did no harm.

"I don’t think I did anything wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong. I did not hurt anyone," she said.

Her attorney, Mark T. Davis, says the same thing.

A closer shot of one of the monkeys reaching out towards whatever Rae has in her hands, revealed to be a bag of Cheetos.
instagram | @fitfamelpaso

He stands by the argument that 'no animal was ever abused' by what she did. Though there were signs saying guests were prohibited from feeding the animals, Davis has referred to other videos found online of monkeys enjoying other human foods like popcorn.

Dr. Victoria Milne, who has worked with spider monkeys for over 16 years, doesn't think that's a good argument.

Rae, with her face blurred, walking through the water to leave the enclosure, one of the monkeys sitting behind her.
instagram | @fitfamelpaso

She claims the monkeys were "actually really upset" even if it may not seem that way in the video.

"Just having people jump in and do whatever they feel like can be really disruptive for those animals on the short-term and really unhealthy and unsafe for those animals in the long-term."

Rae also argued that there was no specific sign saying people weren't allowed in the enclosure.

An aerial shot of a zoo and its various walking paths.
Unsplash | Sigmund

To which Dr. Milne responded, "In the society we live in, in general, a fence without a gate is a barrier that means you’re not supposed to go in there."

Rae hasn't been without consequences this past year.

She was initially fired from her job at Lovett Law Firm and she was arrested for criminal trespassing. She hasn't been banned from the zoo yet as the case is still under litigation.

What has she taken away from all this? As she told ABC-7, "I learned just keep the Cheetos to myself. I can’t share."

h/t: LADBible