Sea lion breaks free at Central Park Zoo during scary New York City floods

No visitors or staff members were in danger and the animal never left the zoo grounds, a city official said

Kelly Rissman
Friday 29 September 2023 21:44 BST
Shocking videos show New York underwater amid flash flood warning

As heavy flooding hit New York City, a female sea lion was able to swim out of her pool at Central Park Zoo, officials reported, resulting in a scene out of a movie.

Jim Breheny, executive vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, wrote a statement about the Friday incident. “A female sea lion at Central Park Zoo was able to swim out of her pool due to flooding of the plaza caused by severe rains in New York City today,” he said.

“Zoo staff monitored the sea lion as she explored the area,” he added, “before returning to the familiar surroundings of the pool and the company of the other two sea lions. The water levels have receded, and the animals are contained in their exhibit.”

Mr Breheny reported that no visitors or staff members were in danger and the sea lion never escaped the zoo.

“Animal care staff will continue to monitor the situation through the duration of the weather event,” he continued.

The Wildlife Conservation Society posted earlier today that the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and the New York Aquarium were closed on Friday due to the heavy rain and the state of emergency.

The rain has not only impacted the city’s zoos, but also trains, airports and roads. Earlier on Friday, Gov Kathy Hochul urged New Yorkers to “please stay home.”

A flash flood warning also cautioned: “This is a dangerous and life-threatening situation. Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.”

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