Los Angeles police say they are investigating a viral video that shows a man scaling a zoo fence and slapping a hippopotamus on the rear end.
LAPD sources confirmed to a local CBS affiliate that they are looking into possible charges for an unidentified man seen in a video posted last week that was apparently taken at the Los Angeles Zoo.
In the video, a man scales a short barrier before giving a loud slap to one hippo. The hippo does not react to the slap in the video, but another one of the animals in the enclosure seems startled by the sound.
On Monday, the zoo released a statement urging guests to not break zoo rules and climb in to animal enclosures.
“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," the statement reads.
"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.”
California law prohibits guests from entering zoo enclosures, a spokesperson added to CBS, which can lead to a misdemeanor charge.
Hippos, though herbivores, are extremely dangerous animals and are known to kill more humans in their native African habitats than any other land mammal on the continent.
Rosie, the hippo seen in the video, is the first such animal to be born at the Los Angeles Zoo in 26 years.