During Friday’s downpours and sudden flooding, New Yorkers were advised to remain indoors, but one resident of the Central Park Zoo saw an opportunity in the rising waters. A female sea lion was able to swim out of the zoo’s sea lion pool and explore as a consequence of the flooding.
The zookeepers observed the sea lion as she investigated the area before returning to the pool with the other two sea lions. “The water levels have receded, and the animals are contained within their exhibit,” said Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo and executive vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoos and Aquarium, in a statement released Friday afternoon.
Due to inclement weather, the organization’s four zoos and aquarium were closed on Friday so staff could focus on the animals and structures.
All five facilities of the Wildlife Conservation Society in the city are home to California sea lions. The intelligent and playful mammals are indigenous to the West Coast and can live up to 30 years. Female sea lions weigh approximately 240 pounds and are approximately 6 feet long, making them smaller than male sea lions, which are approximately 7.5 feet tall and weigh approximately 700 pounds.
The NYPD’s Central Park precinct reported that all menagerie animals were safe and sound during Friday’s storm.
The marine lion that narrowly avoided capture This is not the first time a New York City menagerie animal has escaped from its enclosure. In 2011, a 20-inch Egyptian cobra escaped from her enclosure at the Bronx Zoo, prompting a weeklong hunt that captivated the city, inspired late-night skits, and even inspired merchandise depicting the venomous reptile. More than a decade later, a Twitter account written from the snake’s perspective and eventually christened Mia was still active. The snake was ultimately discovered within the Reptile House.
Following the declaration of a state of emergency, city residents were ordered to remain in place on Friday. New York Governor Kathy Hochul reportedly urged New Yorkers to “please stay home” during the storm, citing “historic” flooding. New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley all declared emergencies on Friday.