The Bronx Zoo told PEOPLE that the woman's actions were "a serious violation and unlawful trespass"

By Helen Murphy
October 02, 2019 02:49 PM

A woman entered the lion exhibit at the Bronx Zoo in New York City over the weekend, in an incident that the zoo says could have resulted in her death.

In a statement to PEOPLE, the Bronx Zoo explained that zoo staff members received a report that someone had climbed over the safety barrier at the African lion exhibit on Saturday.

“This action was a serious violation and unlawful trespass that could have resulted in serious injury or death,” the Bronx Zoo’s statement said. “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.”

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Social media video of the incident shows the woman, who wore a T-shirt and leggings, standing just feet away from the lion. In the clip, the woman dances and waves at the animal, appearing to taunt it.

In the background of the video, other zoogoers could be heard questioning her actions. CBS News reported that there is a small moat in the exhibit that separated the woman and the lion.

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According to the New York Post, which reported that they found the trespasser’s Instagram account, she also posted a recent video inside the Bronx Zoo’s giraffe exhibit.

“I REALLY HAVE NO FEAR OF NOTHING BREATHING,” she captioned a clip that appeared to show her in the lion exhibit. “ANIMALS CAN FEEL LOVE JUST LIKE HUMANS.”

The New York Police Department told PEOPLE that they are investigating the incident after receiving a complaint report for criminal trespass. There have been no arrests at this time.

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