A woman was recently spotted clambering over a barrier at the Bronx Zoo’s lion exhibit, according to witnesses who spoke with NBC New York — and it appears to be the second time she has done it.
Cellphone footage showed the person holding roses and tossing what appeared to be $100 bills toward the animal, the outlet reported Friday.
The incident happened at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, zoo employees said.
The woman wearing a blonde wig, red dress, and leopard-print shawl spoke to the creature as if it were her friend, according to witnesses.
“I missed him so much,” she was reportedly heard saying in the clip.
The woman whose husband took the video told the outlet the person said, “King, I love you, I came back for you,” and noted that watching the incident “was definitely surreal.”
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A spokesperson for the zoo said others alerted staff to the woman, but she was gone when they arrived.
The NBC report continued:
In an updated statement Friday, a zoo spokesman said, “Video shows she crossed a barrier into a planted area near the exhibit. The woman was not in the exhibit as has been falsely reported and she was never in the same space as the lions.”
“This situation involves one individual who is determined to harass our lions with no regard for her safety, or the safety of our staff and our guests, and no regard for the well-being of the lions. We have an NYPD substation in the park and are working closely with them to resolve this situation with this individual,” he added. “The Bronx Zoo has a zero-tolerance policy in matters such as this and will aggressively seek prosecution against this individual and anyone who violates park safety rules.”
The zoo’s visitors were alarmed by what happened.
“They definitely need better security. If she’s able to do that a second time, there’s no telling what’ll happen the third time. She might not be so lucky,” Leo Morales commented.
An Instagram account that seems to belong to the woman in the red dress featured a picture on Friday of her standing next to a New York City police officer:
The situation appeared familiar because, in 2019, a woman identified as Myah Autry went to the same area and appeared to taunt the lions.
However, the lion did not react and simply watched her:
Autry was charged with criminal trespass after the last occurrence, according to the NBC article.
Following the 2019 incident, Autry reportedly said her reason for her actions was “a lot more spiritual,” and she was never afraid.
“I fear nobody. No animal, no human, no one. So no, I wasn’t fearing of the lion because the lion loved me. That’s why he came to me and I let the lion know: Lion, I love you,” she commented and also referenced “reincarnation.”