Police are investigating a man who was caught on camera spanking a hippo at a California zoo.
Video shows the man climbing over a fence at the Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park earlier this month and slapping the hippo on the rear. He then quickly hops the fence back to safety and seems quite pleased with himself.
— SomethingToLaughAt (@SomeToLaughAt) August 7, 2018
Hippos are known to be very aggressive and unpredictable, with many wildlife experts considering them to be among the most dangerous animals on the planet.
Los Angles police said the intruder, who has not yet been identified, could face charges of trespassing.
“Any unauthorized interaction with an animal is unsafe for the animal and potentially unsafe for the patron,” April Spurlock, a zoo spokeswoman, told the Los Angeles Times. “It is never appropriate for anyone to attempt to have contact or interaction with any animal outside of our staff-led animal experiences.”
The signs around the hippo enclosure read, “No Trespassing" following the incident.
“We seriously feel this was an isolated incident,” Spurlock said. “Most people know not to go in with the animals. It’s common sense.”
It isn’t the only recent incident involving someone coming too close to an animal.
A man in Alaska was caught on video wadding in a river for an up-close look at brown bears feeding on sockeye salmon. He took their photos and turned his back on the bears for a selfie. Then he ventured even closer but didn’t realize he was actually being livestreamed around the world by the national park's "bear cam."
It's illegal to get within 50 yards of feeding bears. The man was also in an area of Katmai National Park that is closed to tourists this time of year.
Charges are pending for that man.