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Thread: Intern killed by Lion at Fresno County Wild Cat Park

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    Gold Member laynes's Avatar
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    Default Intern killed by Lion at Fresno County Wild Cat Park

    Worker mauled to death at California sanctuary by her favorite lion - CNN.com Worker mauled to death at California sanctuary by her favorite lion

    By Lateef Mungin and Cristy Lenz, CNN
    updated 6:32 PM EST, Thu March 7, 2013





    Dad: Intern's job 'was her dream'



    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Conservationist says she had been in the cage with the lion before
    • The victim of the attack was a 24-year-old intern
    • A deputy shot and killed the adult male African lion
    • The lion was once on the Ellen DeGeneres show



    (CNN) -- It was clear that Dianna Hanson was thrilled to be at the Cat Haven sanctuary. Her Facebook page boasted more pictures of lions and tigers than it did of her friends.
    Hanson had been at the 100-acre wooded Northern California facility since January -- working as an intern, bonding with the big cats it's home to.
    On a Facebook photo of her petting a tiger cub, a friend commented, "You have met your calling."
    "My calling," Hanson jokingly responded, "drools on my pants."
    On Wednesday, the 24-year-old Seattle woman was killed when she was mauled by a 5-year-old, 350-pound African lion inside a cage.
    Hanson's grieving father said the lion, Cous Cous, was one of her favorites.
    The sanctuary did not release details of why Hanson was in the lion's cage, but said it would investigate whether safety protocols were followed.
    The Fresno County Sheriff's Office said that when the lion attacked, another employee at the sanctuary tried to distract him away from Hanson into another enclosure. "But all attempts failed," it said.
    A sheriff's deputy shot and killed the lion to reach Hanson and give her medical assistance. It was too late.
    "The victim died at the scene."
    Facility 'well run, professional'
    Hanson's father said he and his daughter took a two-day road trip from Seattle to Dunlap, California, at the beginning of the year when Hanson's internship began. She was supposed to be there for six months.
    "Once there, she gave me the tour and showed me all the big cats there with which she would be working," the father, Paul, said in a statement Wednesday night.
    "Of course, Dianna being Dianna, her favorites were the tiger and the lion ... who killed her today," he added.
    Cous Cous once appeared on Ellen DeGeneres' television show when he was about three months old. The comedian fed him from a bottle as a handler stood by.
    Late Wednesday, some who knew the lion, who had been raised in captivity, were shocked.
    Jenny Michaels, the head of The Jungle Jenny Foundation, said she had been in the lion's cage before, accompanied by a park worker .
    Watch video of the lion from 2012
    "I didn't see any type of aggressive behavior," Michaels told CNN's Piers Morgan.
    She said the workers at the park were top-notch.
    "It was really well run, very professional," she said. "I don't know the circumstances (of the attack) but I can tell you that in my interaction over at Project Survival they have been professional and ... they have run their protocol strictly."
    Noted animal expert Jack Hanna said that even if Hanson knew the lion, a big cat can be unpredictable in the way it reacts to what it sees or hears.
    "They are wild animals, end of story," he said. "No matter what anyone says, they are wild animals."
    Hanna said it would be unusual for someone to enter an adult lion's cage without another person accompanying them or close by.
    From the archives: White tiger kills zookeeper as tourists watch
    Big cat attacks
    Twenty people, including five children, have been killed by big cats in the United States in the past 21 years, according to figures kept by Big Cat Rescue, a nonprofit cat sanctuary in Tampa, Florida.
    Another 246 people were mauled in the United States during that same time period, 1990 to 2011, the group said. The group's website did not have figures for 2012.
    In California alone, 14 people were mauled, but Hanson's is just the second death.
    In 2007, an escaped Siberian tiger attacked and killed one person and injured two others in a cafe at the San Francisco Zoo.
    Leopard killed after mauling six in India
    Love of lions started early
    Hanson's love for big cats began when she was very young.
    "As my mother can tell you, I have had the goals of working with big cats since she adopted a tiger in my name when I was seven," Hanson wrote in a 2011 letter.
    While working at a Washington ski resort while in college, she met a little boy who told her his grandparents owned four tigers. She befriended the family.
    When she graduated from Western Washington University, her father presented her with a plane ticket to fly to Nukuru, Kenya, with the family and see the work being done with the animals there.
    "I will be volunteering at the Cheetah research center, which is run by Project Survival," Hanson wrote in a college graduation letter. "They (also) have a facility in California known as Cathaven. The owners of Cathaven have invited me to see this facility, so I'm hoping to get down there this summer."
    In the letter, Hanson thanked her family and friends for helping her get close to her dreams.
    "This was her dream come true," her father told CNN affiliate KCPQ. "Working with big cats all day long, nothing but big cats."



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    Gold Member laynes's Avatar
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    Very sad that both the girl and the Lion had to die. Seems preventable.



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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    The coroner said she died of a broken neck instantly. Mauling was after death,so she never knew. That is some small comfort.
    laynes likes this.
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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Did not fetch lion's coffee quickly enough.
    sputnik and greysfang like this.
    As Canadian as possible under the circumstances

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    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    The coroner said she died of a broken neck instantly. Mauling was after death,so she never knew. That is some small comfort.
    Cats kill their prey very quickly. I feel sorry for the family of the girl.

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    Elite Member HelpMeRhonda's Avatar
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    I just looked at her FB page. Lot of pics with her and big cats. RIP.
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    Elite Member Trixie's Avatar
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    Well, I have to go with Jack Hanna on this one: "They are wild animals, end of story," he said. "No matter what anyone says, they are wild animals." Life's dream or not, she had to know the risks. I heard on the news that the cat wasn't hungry because it had just been fed. Who knows what made him look at her as prey, but apparently he took her down in a split second, she was on her cell phone with a co-worker when he struck.

    Years ago, I was a mall in Wyoming and there was a booth where you could have your picture taken with a tiger cub, so we did. I'll tell ya, even a small one is hella scary. Heavy-solid, with giant paws and the one I held in my lap was making some pretty scary sounds too. I was very happy to hand him back.
    Bluebonnet likes this.
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    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    I'm sad for her and the lion. I'm sure it would break her heart to know that the lion was shot and killed. Remember the woman that was killed at the elephant sanctuary in Tennessee? I'm not sure if they ever consider putting the elephant down, but I remember her friends and family speaking out against any sort of action. Knowing how much their daughter loved those elephants.

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    Elite Member BITTER's Avatar
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    They are beautiful animals - from a fucking distance. Even better when they are on TV.
    That poor girl. What a waste.
    Good luck getting a cat to do anything let alone join in on your sexcapades. - Air Quotes

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    Elite Member southernbelle's Avatar
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    Sad that she died but it pisses me off when they kill wild animals in zoos and sanctuaries for acting on their natural instincts and attacking a human who gets too close. What was she doing in the cage? At the zoos I've been to, the handlers do not directly interact with the big cats or more aggressive species (Painted Dogs) - even for feeding. The animals are corralled into a holding area any time that the handler needs to enter their habitat. This was entirely preventable.

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    Elite Member Quazar's Avatar
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    Even domestic animals are unpredictable. You just never know what's in their heads.
    Bluebonnet likes this.
    The more people I encounter, the more I like my animals.

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    Elite Member BITTER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quazar View Post
    Even domestic animals are unpredictable. You just never know what's in their heads.
    We had a poodle that was like that. One day he got tired of being picked up and petted and snapped at anyone who came near him, except for my mother. Somehow she found out he had swalled a chicken bone and it lodged in his belly (later removed by the vet via some sort of laxative). The way we were picking him up caused him discomfort. My mother picked hiim up differently. But we didn't know that because he was unable to communicate it to us.
    Good luck getting a cat to do anything let alone join in on your sexcapades. - Air Quotes

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    Elite Member JazzyGirl's Avatar
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    Update Lion slipped out of holding pen before killing sanctuary worker - Yahoo! News

    FULL ARTICLE AT THE LINK -

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The African lion that killed a California wildlife sanctuary worker had slipped out of a holding pen, which apparently was left improperly secured, and crept up on the woman inside a larger enclosure to attack her, the coroner said on Friday.

    Dianna Hanson, 24, an intern at the Cat Haven sanctuary east of Fresno, died almost instantly on Wednesday after the big cat, a 350-pound (160 kg) male named Cous Cous, snapped her neck, according to an autopsy conducted on Thursday.
    Hanson was cleaning the larger enclosure when the lion escaped from its holding pen, apparently by lifting a gate that slides vertically, Fresno County Coroner Dr. David Hadden told Reuters.

    "The gate is kind of like a guillotine. It comes down and hits the base of the ground. If that gate wasn't all the way down, the lion could have put its paw under the gate and pushed it up, and the gate is designed so that it would stay up," he said. Hadden said the lion was being fed at the time, though he was not sure if Hanson was the one who left food for the animal.

    "The lion did not touch its food. It was more interested in what she was doing, and it ran in and attacked her," he said. "she had been talking on her cell phone shortly before the attack and we found a damaged cell phone on the scene."

    Sheriff's deputies shot and killed the lion as they tried to reach Hanson, authorities said.

    On Thursday, Hadden said autopsy results showed the intern, who was from the Seattle area, "died almost instantly from a fractured neck." He added that the autopsy also showed bite and claw marks on Hanson from "the lion playing with the body like a cat would play with a mouse."

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    So sad all te way around.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member faithanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southernbelle View Post
    Sad that she died but it pisses me off when they kill wild animals in zoos and sanctuaries for acting on their natural instincts and attacking a human who gets too close. What was she doing in the cage? At the zoos I've been to, the handlers do not directly interact with the big cats or more aggressive species (Painted Dogs) - even for feeding. The animals are corralled into a holding area any time that the handler needs to enter their habitat. This was entirely preventable.
    I really hate it when they hunt down and kill a shark after it's attacked someone. Firstly, we're in their territory and we know the risks and the shark is only doing what comes naturally. And then, we send a posse back into their territory to hunt it down for what? Vengeance? So that it doesn't kill again? It would be different if the shark crawled up on land and started biting people - sure, take it down. But don't swim in the fucking ocean if you're not prepared to share it with the creatures who actually live and eat there.
    "You're going to die tomorrow, Lord Bolton. Sleep well."



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