Sally the sea lion went for a swim around Central Park Zoo
A sea lion in Central Park got a chance to experience life outside of her usual habitat on Friday.
Amid flashing floods caused by torrential downpours plummeting New York City, Sally — a sea lion in the Central Park Zoo in the heart of Manhattan — saw a way out of her enclosure, swimming around to visit a new area of the popular attraction.
Zoo officials "monitored" Sally during her exploration, according to a news release from Jim Breheny, executive vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoos and Aquarium. She was seen splashing around in the outside area before she rejoined two sea lions in their pool.
"No staff or visitors were in danger and the sea lion remained inside the zoo, never breaching the zoo’s secondary perimeter," Karen Dugan — who works at the Arsenal, the headquarters of NYC Parks and the Central Park Zoo — told The New York Times.
“When we got to the Arsenal, everything was pretty flooded,” she recalled, of gazing at Sally from a distance with her coworkers. “We watched it explore around the enclosure and then go back in.”
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.
By 3 p.m. local time, the flood waters began to recede and all of the animals were safe and accounted for.
However, word of Sally’s adventure quickly spread on social media, prompting officials to continue to clarify that everything was under control.
“No people or animals were at risk during the flooding. The sea lions are safe and back in their enclosure and we will monitor them all night. @JimBreheny and our team are on top of the situation,” she continued.
Her tweet garnered a repost from the Central Park Zoo.
Videos you are seeing are from earlier today! The flooding @centralparkzoo receded hours ago! No people or animals were at risk during the flooding. The sea lions are safe and back in their enclosure and we will monitor them all night. @JimBreheny and our team are on top of the…
— Monica Medina (@MonicaMedinaDC) September 29, 2023
Breheny also thanked the New York Police Department’s Central Park division for addressing “misleading & inaccurate” videos circulating of “escaped zoo animals.”
“Thanks @NYPDCentralPark for helping to set the record straight!” he tweeted.
“After briefly exploring the flooded plaza inside the zoo, sea lion Sally returned to the enclosure, the flood waters receded & all is well @centralparkzoo w/ our sea lions all safely content in their exhibit,” Breheny added.
His post contained a video of the sea lions climbing on a large rock that rose above the flood waters.
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A state of emergency was declared in New York by Mayor Eric Adams due to the extreme flooding on Friday. He urged residents to shelter in place during the inclement weather.
The rain is expected to begin again Saturday morning.
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