LOS ANGELES – Video of a man climbing into an enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo, then slapping a hippopotamus prompted a criminal investigation, according to zoo officials.
The man was seen going over a barrier where two hippos, Rosie and Mara, were hanging out. He slaps the butt of one animal and quickly jumps out of the area. The video appeared to be taken from the opposite side of the enclosure.
The animal doesn’t appear to care much.
Zoo officials were notified of the viral video and contacted police. They also posted a “no trespassing” sign on the exhibit, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Any unauthorized interaction with an animal is unsafe for the animal and potentially unsafe for the patron,” said April Spurlock, a zoo spokeswoman, told LA Times. “It is never appropriate for anyone to attempt to have contact or interaction with any animal outside of our staff-led animal experiences.”
Northeast Community Police Station detectives were investigating the incident for trespassing, not animal cruelty, the Times reported.