Woman climbs into lion exhibit at Bronx Zoo and taunts animal, video shows

"This action was a serious violation and unlawful trespass that could have resulted in serious injury or death," said a statement from the Bronx Zoo.
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By Elisha Fieldstadt

A woman visiting the Bronx Zoo in New York climbed into a lion enclosure and stood feet away from one of the wild animals, appearing to taunt it, according to video of the incident and the zoo.

Videos show the woman standing in front of the lion in the African lion exhibit before breaking into a little dance and waving. The lion stands almost motionless, staring at her.

The zoo confirmed the incident happened on Saturday, but did not identify the woman. The New York City Police Department said they were investigating a report of criminal trespass.

Janna Zagari, 33, was at the exhibit with her family when the incident happened. She said the woman was gesturing and saying hello to the lion.

"The bad part about this ... is if something happened, the lion would’ve been put down," Zagari said. "It's awful and selfish of somebody to do."

Zagari said she and her husband left to get an employee, but when they got back to the exhibit, the trespasser was gone.

"This action was a serious violation and unlawful trespass that could have resulted in serious injury or death," said a statement from the Bronx Zoo. "Barriers and rules are in place to keep both visitors, staff and animals safe. We have a zero tolerance policy on trespass and violation of barriers."

A zoo spokesperson said Wednesday that a concrete trench was between the woman and the lion.

Suzanne Ciechalski contributed.