Central Park sea lion escapes and roams zoo after NYC flooding

Central Park sea lion escapes and roams zoo after NYC flooding

On Friday, New York was hit with intense rainfall and the worst flooding in decades, with city residents wading through knee-deep waters. And flooding was so intense that one Central Park sea lion was even able to make a break from its habitat.

Sally, a female sea lion, is normally confined to her pool at the Central Park Zoo. But on Friday, the rain in NYC was so severe that her pool flooded — allowing her to escape and roam around the zoo grounds.

Footage of Sally went viral on social media, a sign of how dramatically the torrential downpour transformed the city on Friday — water levels were so high that, for a few hours, all of New York was a playground for marine life.

While reports spread that Sally had “gotten loose,” the zoo clarified that they kept a close eye on the sea lion even after her escape.

“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,” Jim Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo and Executive Vice President of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoos and Aquarium, wrote in a press release. “No staff or visitors were in danger and the sea lion remained inside the zoo, never breaching the zoo’s secondary perimeter.”

The flood waters soon receded and the sea lions returned to their pools, the zoo said.

All four WCS zoos were closed during the rainstorm on Friday so staff could focus on the animals and their facilities. The Central Park Zoo was reopen as of September 30.

The September 29 flood was called one of NYC’s “wettest days in decades.” Both Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency, and the flood wreaked havoc on public transport and in people’s homes.

But while it was a major headache for most city residents, it was certainly a day to remember for these sea lions.

Wow, what a video — these sea lions got quite a day out but we’re glad they’re safe and secure now! Please share this story!