Flooding allowed one New Yorker a small taste of freedom — a sea lion at the Central Park Zoo

Flooding allowed one New Yorker a small taste of freedom — a sea lion at the Central Park Zoo

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Flood waters overwhelm homes and roads in parts of Queens


Flood waters overwhelm homes and roads in parts of Queens

03:04

While New Yorkers were urged to stay indoors during Friday’s downpours and flash flooding, one resident found a little opportunity in the rising waters — a resident of the Central Park Zoo, that is. 

Buoyed by the flooding, a female sea lion was able to swim out of the zoo’s sea lion pool and do some exploring.

“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. The water levels have receded, and the animals are contained in their exhibit,” Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo and executive vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoos and Aquarium, said in a statement Friday afternoon.

The organization’s four zoos and aquarium were closed due to the weather Friday so staff could focus on the animals and facilities, he said.

California sea lions are kept at all five of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s facilities in the city. Native to the West Coast, the playful and intelligent creatures can live for up to 30 years. Adult female sea lions weigh approximately 240 pounds and are about 6 feet long, smaller than the males, who are typically 7.5 feet long and weigh in at 700 pounds.

The NYPD’s Central Park precinct tweeted that all of the zoo’s animals were safe and accounted for during Friday’s storm.

The sea lion who made her brief escape Friday isn’t the first time a New York City zoo animal made a break from their enclosure. In 2011, a 20-inch Egyptian cobra slithered out of her confines at the Bronx Zoo, spawning a weeklong search that captivated the city, fueled late-night sketches and even led to merch featuring the venomous serpent. A Twitter account written from the perspective of the snake — later named Mia — was still active more than a decade later. The snake was ultimately found within the Reptile House.

On Friday, city residents were asked to shelter in place as a state of emergency was declared. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul had pleaded with New Yorkers to “please stay home” during the storm, CBS New York reported, amid what she called “historic” flooding. New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley were all under a state of emergency Friday.



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