Sea lion briefly leaves enclosure at Central Park Zoo – WPXI

NEW YORK — While residents in New York City were ordered to stay in place during record-setting rains and flooding on Friday, there was at least one dissenter.

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A female sea lion named Sally briefly escaped from her enclosure at the Central Park Zoo on Friday, The New York Times reported. The animal swam out of the pool where she was kept after heavy rains in New York flooded the zoo grounds, according to the newspaper.

Zoo workers monitored Sally’s movements as she nosed around the area before rejoining the other two sea lions in the pool, Jim Breheny of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoos and Aquarium, which oversees four zoos and the city’s aquarium, told the Times.

“The water levels have receded, and the animals are contained in their exhibit,” Breheny said in a statement. “No staff or visitors were in danger and the sea lion remained inside the zoo, never breaching the zoo’s secondary perimeter.”

Police in New York shot down rumors that Sally had totally escaped from the zoo, WPIX-TV reported.

“There are several videos circulating online about flooding and escaped zoo animals,” the New York City Police Department wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “These videos are misleading and inaccurate. All sea lions and animals are accounted for and safe.”

Karen Dugan and her colleagues at the city’s parks department had a clear view of Sally’s exploring jaunt from their office at the Arsenal, a building inside Central Park that overlooks the zoo, the Times reported.

“When we got to the Arsenal, everything was pretty flooded,” Dugan told the newspaper. “We watched it explore around the enclosure and then go back in.”

The flooding was the worst New York City has seen since Hurricane Ida in 2021, when downpours led to the deaths of more than 40 people across the region, The Washington Post reported.