New York City flooding allows sea lion to briefly escape Central Park Zoo pool

A New York City sea lion did not listen to Mayor Eric Adams's guideline to shelter in place during the rain.

The marine mammal managed to swim out of its Central Park Zoo pool thanks to flooding of the plaza caused by torrential rains and flooding in the city, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. The sea lion remained inside the zoo's outer perimeter.

"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 WSZ’s Zoos and Aquarium, said.

NYC floods: Photos show torrential rain wreaking havoc on New York City, North Jersey

No staff or visitors were in danger during the entire process, said Breheny. The Bronx Zoo closed their four zoos and one aquarium ahead of the storm so staff could care for the animals and the facilities during the storm.

"Animal care staff will continue to monitor the situation through the duration of the weather event," Breheny shared.

The New York Police Department's Central Park precinct said several misleading and inaccurate videos have circulated online about more zoo animals escaping due to the floods. On a post on X (formerly Twitter), officials said all sea lions and other animals at the Central Park Zoo are accounted for.

The severe weather in New York City has overwhelmed roads and transit leading Governor Kathy Hochul to issue a state of emergency early Friday. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning through Friday night for all of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and even parts of New Jersey.

Mayor Adams urged people to avoid being outdoors.

"This is time for heightened alertness and extreme caution," Adams said during a news conference. "If you are at home, stay home. If you are at work or school, shelter in place for now."

According to Central, California sea lions are kept at five of the city's Wildlife Conservation Society's facilities.

The sea lion wasn't the first time an animal attempted to leave the Central Park Zoo. In 2011, a venomous Egyptian cobra escaped, prompting a six day search, according to ABC News. The snake was found "coiled, sort of secluded in a dark corner" one morning near the enclosure she had slipped out of, Breheny said. He added a Reptile House employee recovered the reptilian with "special tongs."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Sea lion escapes zoo pool due to heavy flooding in New York City