Intern Killed by Lion in California

24-year-old fatally attacked

Ryan O'Hanlon

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Dianna Hanson, a 24-year-old intern at a Fresno, California, wild cat sanctuary, was killed Wednesday after being attacked by a lion. Hanson, who moved from Washington to California to work at the Cat Haven sanctuary, climbed into the cage of a four-year-old male lion and was then fatally attacked.

Beyond that, not much more information is known. Officials have released few details, and an autopsy is scheduled for today.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department reported receiving the emergency call shortly before 12:30 p.m. Friends of the 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.

The more experienced volunteer repeatedly tried to coax the lion—a four-year-old male named Cous Cous—into another enclosure, away from the victim, officials said. Police fatally shot the animal before rushing to Hanson, according to Sheriff’s Department officials, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Next time you consider complaining about an internship, just shut up and go get the damn coffee.

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