A woman visiting New York’s Bronx Zoo Thursday climbed over the barrier to 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 into 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.
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 $100 bills in the air.
“I missed him so much,” the woman is heard saying in the footage. A witness told the news station 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.
Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.