El Paso Zoo raises fence around spider monkey exhibit

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — After a video of a woman inside the spider monkey exhibit at the El Paso Zoo went viral, the Zoo has now started a project to raise the fence around the exhibit to protect the animals.

The video shared on Instagram page Fitfam was a 30-second clip showing a woman climbing into the enclosure and then feeding the spider monkeys.

“They had a week afterward where they were pretty aggressive toward their keepers,” said Natasha Bretz, with the El Paso Zoo. “It definitely only takes one person making a mistake to alter everything.”

El Paso police said 26-year-old Luz Rae was later taken into custody after the incident.

On Tuesday, contractors started work raising the fence around the exhibit. One side of the structure has been completed by welding unused fencing at the zoo on top of what already exists around the exhibit.

The El Paso Zoo said the project costs about $2,800 because they are using reclaimed materials. The Zoo said the material they are using will provide the extra security they need without blocking guests from viewing the spider monkeys.

“What we are doing is we are re-purposing old holding or old barriers that were going to be demolished when we started penguins in a few months,” Bretz said. “And we are taking those barriers and we are adding it to the current barriers. Basically, we went from having about 2.5- to 3-foot barrier to having a 5.5-foot barrier.”

The Zoo said crews will be working on construction on Mondays and Tuesdays when the zoo is closed. During the construction, the two spider monkeys, Libby and Sunday, will be kept in their back holding.

“The monkeys really can’t be out as often as what they used to be because we need to keep an eye on them all the time now and we also have to find the money to make this alteration to an exhibit that has been here for decades,” Bretz said.

There is still a court case pending against Rae. She has been charged with criminal trespassing.

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