SAN FRANCISCO — The private wildlife sanctuary in California where a 26-year-old intern was killed by an African lion would remain closed until further notice, the park said on Thursday, while investigators seek to determine why the big cat attacked the woman.
The woman, identified as Dianna Hanson, was on a six-month volunteer internship at Cat Haven in Dunlap, California, when the lion named Cous Cous, a 4-year-old male, turned on her on Wednesday, the Fresno Bee reported, citing her father's Facebook posting.
Authorities shot the lion dead so they could safely tend to Hanson, who died at the scene, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department said.
"Dianna really loved her six-month internship at Cat Haven. She and I drove down there from Seattle on Jan. 1 and 2. She was so excited at working in Cat Haven and living in California," said her father, Paul Hanson, according to the Bee.
"Once there, she gave me the tour and showed me all the big cats there with which she would be working. Of course, Dianna being Dianna, her favorites were the tiger and the lion, Cous Cous, who killed her today," he said on Wednesday.
Cat Haven is a 100-acre (16-hectare) sanctuary run by the group Project Survival in Dunlap, about 40 miles (64 km) east of Fresno.
Janice Mackey, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said a necropsy would be performed on the lion to determine if it suffered from any health problems that could have led to the attack.
Cat Haven was founded in 1993 "to exhibit a variety of wild cats and engage public support for their conservation in the wild via specific projects," according to the park's website.