The woman who crossed a barrier and trespassed in a lion's exhibit at the Bronx Zoo has been identified.
The woman was seen inside the animal's enclosure, taunting and dancing in front of the lion.
There was only a moat with a 14-foot drop in-between them.
Fellow visitors witnessed the woman standing inside the enclosure at an uncomfortably close distance to the lion. She was seen saying "hi" to the animal, as well as waving her arms, dancing and taunting the animal.
The lion reportedly glared and paced in front of her and at one point roared in agitation.
One fellow patron, Hernán Reynoso, was visiting the Bronx Zoo with his family. He managed to catch part of the encounter on video and posted it to Instagram.
You can see his video here:
Reynoso reportedly told zoo and police officials that he thought the woman was with the zoo, performing some kind of skit. After watching for a few moments, he quickly changed his mind.
"But when I see... she just was there, dancing, saying, 'Hi,' to the lion and everything and that was crazy."
Reynoso and his family watched the woman taunt the lion, but when the lion roared, he quickly cut the recording and led his family away from the lion attraction, likely expecting a gruesome ending.
The woman climbed back out of the enclosure and was escorted out of the Bronx Zoo shortly thereafter.
At the time, she received no punishment, but the zoo is now enforcing a "zero tolerance" policy against the woman, and police officials filed a trespass report against her.
The Bronx Zoo said in a statement:
"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."
The woman was identified as Myáh Lareé Israelite through her Instagram.
Apparently she's a repeat offender when it comes to entering animal enclosures at the zoo. She also posted a video of herself inside the zoo's giraffe enclosure on Saturday.
Israelite posted on Instagram:
"🌳LITERALLY I HAVE THE SAME DIET AS A GIRAFFE🌿🌱"
"I REALLY HAVE NO FEAR OF NOTHING BREATHING. ANIMALS CAN FEEL LOVE JUST LIKE HUMANS."
"Only People wasn't scared was me and The Children. All the Adults was Scared."
People on Twitter were confused by the woman's actions and in full-support of the lion.
@TODAYshow Hope she is prosecuted to the full extent— Michelle Easly (@Michelle Easly) 1570016602.0
@TODAYshow That lion reacted like any other New Yorker. Just staring because he’s seen crazier before.— Matthew Gellert (@Matthew Gellert) 1570016299.0
@TODAYshow That poor lion, you could tell he was confused. If he wasn't the goodest boy that ever was and had don… https://t.co/H8bnxfyi16— 🌷🌿Kathleen🕊☺🥞 (@🌷🌿Kathleen🕊☺🥞) 1570016623.0
Honestly, maybe that lion is a good boy. Who wouldn't be confused about a sudden visitor inside their enclosure?
The NYPD said only that their investigation is ongoing.
Israelite may not have been afraid, but her stunts at the zoo endangered the lives of the animals whose habitats she invaded.
This could have turned deadly for more than just Israelite very easily.
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