On Saturday, a woman, who has been identified as Myah Autry, 32, was seen on video jumping into a lion den at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. In the clip, posted by Autry on Instagram, she says that she “wants to get closer” and climbs over a barricade in order to approach a male lion. She is shown waving and talking to the wild animal. She captioned the video, “I REALLY HAVE NO FEAR OF NOTHING BREATHING.”
Fortunately, the lion only took a few steps towards the woman. According to CNN, Autry was unharmed, and the incident wasn’t reported to the police. NYPD detective Sophia Mason told CNN that no arrests had been made and police were only made aware of the incident on Tuesday. Other zoo visitors also posted footage of the woman’s encounter with the lion, though it is unclear how she ultimately got out.
The Bronx Zoo, which has relatively low barricades, is concerned that Autry’s actions will inspire others to act irresponsibly. “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,” the zoo said in a statement to CNN. “This action was a serious violation and unlawful trespass that could have resulted in serious injury or death.”
In the background, as Autry engaged with the lion, a man can be heard telling her to come back but she ignores him and continues to taunt the animal. The woman's Instagram also features another video of her doing something similar at the giraffe exhibit.
African lions, like the one shown in the video, often work together to kill antelopes, zebras, wildebeest, and other large animals in the wild. African lions can grow to between 9 and 10 feet long from head to tail, with the tail being about 2 to 3 feet long, according to the Smithsonian National Zoo. Although males primarily defend the pride’s territory and females hunt, they are both equally dangerous.
According to the New York Police Department, the Bronx Zoo has filed a complaint for criminal trespass, yet Autry has not been arrested and the investigation is ongoing.
A friend of Autry’s, Eunice Walton, 63, says that she was shocked to hear what had happened. Until recently, Autry had been living with Walton and her daughter on Pacific Street in Brooklyn, but they haven’t been in touch in recent months. “I didn’t think it had gone that far,” she said of the video. “I want her to get help. I need her to get help because I’m scared for her.”
Autry has gotten into trouble for trespassing before. Police in West Burlington, Iowa, said she became disorderly at a Trailways bus depot last January. She was arrested on January 10 and spent more than two weeks in jail before being freed.
“We get it all through here,” West Burlington Police Chief Jesse Logan told The Post, noting that news of the woman’s Bronx Zoo adventure had reached the town of 2,968. “She just became uncooperative with the manager. She just refused to cooperate with us. So, she just got arrested.”