Sea lion (briefly) escapes enclosure at Central Park Zoo during New York City flood event

A female sea lion named Sally managed to escape her pool at the Central Park Zoo as record-setting rain in New York City flooded homes, businesses, schools, the subway and the grounds at the zoo over the weekend.

Sally was able to swim out of her pool on Friday due to flooding of the plaza amid severe rains, according to Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo and executive vice-president of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoos and Aquarium.

 “Zoo staff monitored the sea lion as she explored the area before returning to the familiar surroundings of the pool and the company of the other two sea lions,” he said in a statement.

As the water levels receded, the animals remained contained to their exhibit, despite it seems, Sally just wanting ride around.

“No staff or visitors were in danger and the sea lion remained inside the zoo, never breaching the zoo’s secondary perimeter,” Breheny added.

Sally and Charlie in their pool at the Central Park Zoo in September, 2021. Photo: Central Park Zoo/Facebook

But not without much confusion about what transpired at the zoo after videos circulated of the frolicking sea lions in rising water.

Some suggesting perhaps Sally been running all over town now.

The Wildlife Conservation Society had closed the zoo, and four other facilities it oversees, as a state of emergency was declared in the city.

Staff took care of the animals and kept an eye on the facilities during the storm.

California sea lions are exhibited in all five WCS facilities – the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and New York Aquarium.

One thing is certain. For a fleeting time anyway.

Sally got to ride, Sally, ride.

About the author

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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