Not A Hot Idea: Woman Fired After Feeding Monkeys Hot Cheetos At Zoo

You'd think that after the Harambe incident was so thoroughly burned into everyone's brains back in 2016, people would get the hint that climbing into animal enclosures at the zoo is a bad idea.

However, it looks like that hasn't stopped some people from deciding that Instagram clout is worth the risk of getting too close to a potentially dangerous animal.

But is it worth losing your job over? Well, that's a question that one woman apparently needs to ask herself after one ill-advised romp at the El Paso Zoo.

Over the weekend, footage appeared on Instagram depicting a woman who has since been identified as Lucy Rae feeding spider monkeys at the El Paso Zoo.

As Newsweek reported, she was apparently trying to hand-feed two monkeys named Sunday and Libby hot Cheetos.

According to a zookeeper named Mason Kleist, "It is still unclear if they actually ate any. From the video, they were more disturbed with her being there than concerned with the food."

And if they didn't eat any, that's just another reason why zoo director Joe Montisano saw fit to call Rae a "stupid and lucky girl."

As Kleist explained to KVIA, "They may be small monkeys but they can take you to the ground if they wanted to."

But it looks like the woman didn't just endanger herself with this hot Cheeto stunt.

It turns out that Rae put the monkeys at risk both by trying to feed them and just by generally being there.

For one thing, the monkeys have a specialized diet that does not include human food so Libby and Sunday could end up with stomach issues and bowel disruptions if they did actually eat any spicy snacks.

Another problem Kleist identified was a potential COVID-19 risk since it's long been known that we can give the disease to animals.

But even if neither of these things were true, Rae's frolicking could still have some rough consequences for the monkeys and the zookeepers.

As Kleist said, "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."

But since the video has gone viral, it seems that Rae now faces some consequences of her own.

According to KVIA, her employers at Lovett Law Firm recognized her in the video and fired her from her position as a litigation assistant on Monday.

The zoo has also filed a complaint with El Paso police, which means she may also face charges depending on the result of their investigation.

Is looking cool for social media really worth all of that?

h/t: KVIA