A sea lion got a rare chance to splash around beyond her enclosure at New York City’s Central Park Zoo on Friday as severe rain inundated the region.
Sally, one of three sea lions at the Manhattan attraction, explored the zoo grounds after rising floodwaters allowed her to swim right out of her pool, The New York Times reported.
When images of the flooded enclosure went viral online, the zoo issued a statement assuring the public that the sea lions were safe, and that they weren’t running amok in the city.
A sea lion at New York City’s Central Park Zoo in July 2020.
“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,” said the statement, released Friday afternoon. “Water levels have receded, and the animals are contained in their exhibit.”
The statement also noted that even during her brief excursion, Sally “remained inside the zoo, never breaching the zoo’s secondary perimeter.”
The New York Police Department shared video that showed the marine mammals in their waterlogged enclosure.
🚨 ZOO UPDATE:
There are several videos circulating online about flooding & escaped zoo animals. These videos are misleading & inaccurate.
All sea lions & animals are accounted for & safe at the @centralparkzoo. The zoo remains closed due to the heavy rain & flooding. pic.twitter.com/g9RCADJDG8
— NYPD Central Park (@NYPDCentralPark) September 29, 2023
People on social media couldn’t help but cheer on Sally’s adventure, and hope she and the other sea lions had a little fun.
I can't wait for the children's book about this sea lion's big day in the city. https://t.co/pujjJQek0Q
— ashley hufford (@ashleyhufford) September 29, 2023
The sea lions are the mayor now https://t.co/zZjzfV6Cnt
— Mrs. Detective Pikajew, Esq. (@clapifyoulikeme) September 29, 2023
God forbid a woman go sightseeing in new york city pic.twitter.com/60FJQhgkJi
— G. L. (@gldivittorio) September 29, 2023
a sea lion just cut me in line at Zabar's https://t.co/LnAE05QfF6
— Dennis Flynn (@DFlyAwayHome) September 29, 2023
All that said, swimming in floodwaters is not recommended ― for humans or sea lions ― as they can be filled with bacteria, human waste, and hazardous household and industrial substances, among other unsavory contaminants.