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Woman Evaluated After Entering Elephant Exhibit

By Edwin Folven, 12/29/2011

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An unidentified woman climbed over two fences and entered the “Elephants of Asia” enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo on Tuesday before zoo staff members convinced her to leave the enclosure.

The zoo’s two female elephants, Tina and Jewel, were in the enclosure when the unidentified woman jumped over the fences. (photo by Tad Motoyama)

Jason Jacobs, a spokesperson for the zoo, said the unidentified woman was inside the elephant enclosure for approximately five minutes. Visitors reported the incident to the staff members, who yelled for her to come back, and she complied. Jacobs said the zoo’s two female Indian elephants, Tina and Jewel, were in the enclosure at the time, but the lone male elephant, Billy, was being housed in another part of the exhibit. The woman reportedly petted the elephants before climbing back over the fences. She was not injured, and was taken into custody by the zoo’s security officers. Jacobs said she was later turned over to paramedics and transported to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation. It has not been determined whether any charges will be filed.

“This was an isolated incident. I have worked here for six years and have never heard of anybody entering an exhibit,” Jacobs said. “She apparently went up to the elephants and touched them, and they touched her with their trunks. She admitted to being treated for multiple mental illnesses, and had not been taking her medications. We were very concerned, but fortunately she wasn’t injured and there were no further problems.”

 

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