Police investigating after man climbs fence, spanks hippo at Los Angeles Zoo
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating after video surfaced showing a man jumping an enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo and spanking one of the hippos.
The video, posted to social media on Aug. 8, shows an unidentified man approach the enclosure, climb over the fence, and approach the zoo’s two hippos, Rosie and her mother, Mara.
He then smacks Rosie on the rear, prompting a startled reaction from Mara as she lifts her head. The man runs off and raises his arms in a gesture of victory as onlookers can be heard laughing.
In a statement to media, the L.A. Zoo says any unauthorized interaction with an animal is unsafe for the animal and potentially unsafe for the person.
“The zoo would like to remind everyone that it is never acceptable for a guest to enter the habitat of any animal at the zoo, excluding our staff-supervised animal encounters,” Spurlock said. “It is a privilege to observe these rare and endangered species, but they are still wild animals and their space must be respected at all times.”
“Our first priority is always to keep our guests, staff, and animals safe.”
Meanwhile, the LAPD tells the Associated Press that they are investigating the video. It is against the law in California to enter a zoo enclosure, and doing so can lead to a misdemeanour charge.
The zoo has posted a “no trespassing” sign on the exhibit for the first time.
—With files from the Associated Press