BRONX, N.Y. — A New York woman was caught on camera climbing into the African lion’s exhibit at the Bronx Zoo over the weekend.
The unidentified trespasser jumped a visitor safety barrier and, at first, just stared at the male lion, which stared back at her. Then she seemed to taunt the big cat, raising her arms and appearing to dance.
Video of the encounter made the rounds on social media.
Hernán Reynoso took video of the incident and told WRC-TV he had been at the zoo with his wife and son when the incident unfolded.
Reynoso said he first thought the woman was somehow part of the exhibit.
“But when I see she just was there, dancing, saying, ‘Hi,’ to the lion and everything and that was crazy,” he said.
The lion started to become agitated and roared, Reynoso told the news station. He said, at that point, he and his family left.
The zoo confirmed the incident occurred and was captured on surveillance tape.
"This action was a serious violation and unlawful trespass that could have resulted in serious injury or death. Barriers and rules are in place to keep both visitors, staff and animals safe," WRC reported zoo officials said. "We have a zero tolerance policy on trespass and violation of barriers."
There was a moat between the woman and the lion that is difficult to see in the video, but zoo officials said that barrier may have prevented the incident from escalating any further.