The animal involved in the attack, a 4-year-old male African lion named Cous Cous, is shown last year at the sanctuary. (KFSN-TV / Associated Press / July 12, 2012)
DUNLAP, Calif. — A 26-year-old woman was attacked and killed by a lion at a Fresno County cat sanctuary Wednesday, and deputies shot the animal as they rushed to rescue the victim.
Project Survival’s Cat Haven houses lions, tigers, cheetahs and jaguars in enclosures on a boulder-strewn hillside about half a mile off the main road to Kings Canyon National Park. The nonprofit sanctuary, which raises money for conservation causes, gets about 10,000 visitors a year but is closed midweek.
At the time of the attack, there were only two volunteers, both women in their 20s, at the 93-acre park. The woman who was killed was an intern; the other is a more experienced volunteer at the park.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department received the emergency call shortly before 12:30 p.m. Friends of workers said the routine is to feed the cats about noon. The usual method is to go into a small enclosure, leave the food, get out, then let the animals inside from a larger enclosure. According to the sanctuary’s guidelines, caregivers should never be inside with the big cats.
Allowing anyone inside a cage with a lion, especially a volunteer intern, would be “completely irresponsible,” said Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States.
“These animals are ticking time bombs waiting to explode,” Paquette told The Times. “It’s completely irresponsible to allow someone to go into the enclosure.”
The other volunteer repeatedly tried to coax the animal — a 4-year-old male African lion named Cous Cous — into another enclosure, away from the victim, officials said. Police fatally shot the lion before rushing to the injured woman, according to Sheriff’s Department officials, but she was pronounced dead at the scene. Her name has not been released. …
Tragic: Dianna Hanson died shortly after entering the cage of a lion in the California animal sanctuary where she was a volunteer intern
Killed: Dianna Hanson, a 24-year-old intern whose dream job was working with big cats, was tragically killed after entering a lion’s cage at a California wildlife sanctuary on Wednesday
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2289341/Lion-mauling-Intern-Dianna-Hanson-killed-Cat-Haven-sanctuary-California-entering-cage.html#ixzz2N0sD353c