NEW YORK — New York Police are investigating footage that shows a woman climbing over a fence at a Bronx Zoo exhibit to taunt a lion standing mere feet away.
In the video, which was seemingly uploaded by the woman herself to her own Instagram account earlier this week, she is seen climbing over the wooden safety barrier, stepping over foliage before stopping at the edge of a moat where she proceeds to wave to the lion on the other side.
She holds her arms out and tells the animal “I love you” while children laugh in the background. At one point, the lion takes a step towards her as it looks both left and right, seemingly confused. A male friend can be heard telling the woman three separate times, “You’re not supposed to do that,” while another man says, “Can you tell her to please step back?” The friend replies, “I told her, she don’t listen to me.”
After uploading the video, the woman wrote in her caption, “I REALLY HAVE NO FEAR OF NOTHING BREATHING!!”. In a second video of the same incident that she posted, she wrote: “I entered his home in peace & he let me leave in peace. Shalom. My soul is pure this is why I made it out.”
Her videos have garnered intense criticism from viewers, including @hi_im_vic who wrote, “You know they kill the animal when things go wrong…shame on you for putting these animals in danger.”
@rruben85 added: “I sincerely hope you’re charged with animal endangerment and criminal trespassing. You have absolutely zero regard for this animal’s life and for that you have FAR from a ‘pure soul’.”
And @ummhowabout.no didn’t waste any words when they wrote, “You belong in prison.”
The Bronx Zoo confirmed that it received a report on Saturday about someone climbing over a “visitor safety barrier” at its African lion exhibit. In a statement, they said: “This action was a serious violation and unlawful trespass that could have resulted in serious injury or death.” The Zoo added that it has a “zero tolerance policy” for such reckless behaviour.
According to the Washington Post, New York police are currently investigating, however as of Tuesday night no arrest has been made.