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Sea lion escapes Central Park Zoo enclosure in floodwaters as rain batters NYC

She had a flippin’ good time!

A seal lion enjoyed a brief taste of freedom as she hitched a ride on floodwaters and swam out of her Central Park Zoo pool enclosure on Friday as the Big Apple was inundated with torrential downpours.

The marine mammal “explored the area” during her impromptu swimming excursion — but didn’t leave the facility’s grounds, officials said.

Wildlife Conservation Society’s executive vice president, Jim Breheny, said in a statement that the sea lion “was able to swim out of her pool due to flooding of the plaza caused by severe rains in New York City today”.

“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 continued.

“The water levels have receded, and the animals are contained in their exhibit.”

Sea Lion Central Park

The sea lion never crossed outside the boundaries of the zoo, which was closed before the brunt of the rainfall in the morning.

“Animal care staff will continue to monitor the situation through the duration of the weather event,” he added.

A view of the sea lion pool at Central Park Zoo as the city enters Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on July 23, 2020 in New York City.
Getty Images

The Wildlife Conservation Society posted earlier today that the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and the New York Aquarium were closed on Friday due to weather conditions.

By 6 p.m. Friday, Central Park had received nearly 6 inches of rain from the storm, according to the National Weather Service.

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.

— NYPD Central Park (@NYPDCentralPark) September 29, 2023

Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul both declared states of emergency.

“This is a dangerous and life-threatening situation. Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order,” a flash flood warning also cautioned.

Wild scenes of flooding unfolded throughout the city as the storm moved through the tri-state area, turning local roads into rivers during the morning rush hour.