The Los Angeles Police Department is currently investigating a video that shows a a man climbing into the hippopotamus enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo in order to slap one of the animals on its behind.
The now-viral video shows a man sneaking up on two hippos at the zoo, Rosie and Mara.
When he gets close enough, the unidentified hippo spanker slaps 4-year-old Rosie on her rear. Then he hops back over the fence and takes a moment to celebrate his feat, according to local station KCAL-TV.
The video was first posted Aug. 7. Zoo officials responded by reporting it to police and by posting a “No Trespassing” sign on the exhibit, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Any unauthorized interaction with an animal is unsafe for the animal and potentially unsafe for the patron,” LA Zoo spokeswoman April Spurlock told the paper. “It is never appropriate for anyone to attempt to have contact or interaction with any animal outside of our staff-led animal experiences.”
So far, police have not announced if there is a suspect. Because there was no evidence the hippo was physically injured, they are investigating the situation as a trespassing case, not an animal cruelty one, a spokesperson told the Times.
Comic books and cartoons may make hippos seem like docile creatures, but they are dangerous animals, according to the New York Post.
Last weekend, a Taiwanese citizen visiting Kenya was killed during a hippo attack and, in another incident, a local fisherman was mauled to death.
The BBC points out that hippos can weigh nearly 6,000 pounds and kill nearly 500 people in Africa each year.
Spurlock thinks the hippos assaulted earlier this month will ultimately be OK.
“We seriously feel this was an isolated incident,” Spurlock told the Los Angeles Times. “Most people know not to go in with the animals. It’s common sense.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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