Woman climbs over barrier in Bronx Zoo's lion exhibit, throws money in the air

Woman climbs over barrier in Bronx Zoo's lion exhibit, throws money in the air

A woman visiting New York's Bronx Zoo Thursday climbed over the barrier near the lion exhibit and exclaimed, "King, I love you, I came back for you," according to witnesses.

This is the second time in about two years that a woman has gotten close to the exhibit.

At about 4 p.m., "staff were notified that a woman had stepped over a public barrier near the lion exhibit," the zoo said in a statement. "The incident lasted only a couple of minutes and the woman was gone when staff arrived on scene."

Zoo officials said they plan to press criminal trespass charges if the woman is identified.

"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," said an updated statement from the zoo.

"We have an NYPD substation in the park and are working closely with them to resolve this situation with this individual."

The woman, who was dressed in a red slip dress and leopard print scarf, can be seen in video obtained by NBC New York waving roses at the bewildered lion. She then started throwing money in the air.

“I missed him so much,” the woman is heard saying in the footage. A witness told NBC New York that the woman also told the lion, "King, I love you, I came back for you."

The lions are separated from visitors by a moat, according to the zoo. Even if a visitor climbs the barrier, they are not in the same space as the lions, officials said.

The incident comes just over two years after a woman, later identified as Myah Autry, hopped the barrier to the lion enclosure and appeared to dance for the wild animal.

Later, during a court appearance for an unrelated charge, she told reporters: “I am the lion now. Can’t you tell? Have you ever heard of reincarnation?"

Autry, who described the experience as "spiritual," added: "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 was later arrested on two charges of criminal trespassing. She was also accused of entering a giraffe enclosure on the same day she visited the lions.

It's unclear if Autry was involved in Thursday's incident.