During heavy rain in New York City, a female sea lion managed to escape from her enclosure at Central Park Zoo on Friday. The sea lion’s pool flooded, allowing her to swim out and roam the surrounding area before returning to her enclosure. Despite the unexpected adventure, no staff or visitors were in danger, and the sea lion never breached the zoo’s secondary perimeter. The zoo staff monitored the situation and ensured all animals were safely in their designated exhibits.
The heavy rain, which led to the sea lion’s escape, caused widespread flooding throughout New York City. As a result, a state of emergency was declared, and public transportation was paralyzed in many parts of the city. The Wildlife Conservation Society closed all five of its facilities, including Central Park Zoo, to focus on animal care and facility management during the severe weather. The rain broke records and caused flooding in basements, schools, and subways, prompting the closures and the state of emergency.
The Central Park Zoo is part of the world’s largest network of urban wildlife parks, which also includes the Bronx Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and New York Aquarium. California sea lions, like the escaped sea lion, are native to the West Coast and protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Female sea lions can weigh up to 240 pounds and measure up to 6 feet long as adults. The zoo will continue to monitor the situation and ensure the well-being of the animals during the ongoing weather event.