As KTLA reports, a woman at the Los Angeles Zoo yesterday decided that she wanted to be one with the animals. She climbed over ditches and a barrier to reach the elephant enclosure and stayed there for about five minutes before leaving.
A witness caught the incident on video, which depicts the woman side-by-side with two elephants, petting them calmly. On her own accord, she eventually walked out of the enclosure.
According to the video below, the woman admitted to suffering from multiple mental illnesses and not taking her treatment that day.
The motives of the woman who petted the elephants are unclear. However, as the Los Angeles Times reports, the zoo defended the enclosure after video of the woman emerged, saying that the barriers were adequate to protect both the elephants and the visitors.
The elephant exhibit, called Elephants of Asia, opened in December 2010 amid controversy. As ABC reported, the zoo said at the time that the enclosure was one of the largest of its kind, with six acres for the three resident elephants. However, some protestors said that elephants are too large to ever be in captivity; others said that taxpayer money should not be spent on such an expensive construction project.