UK & World News
Lion 'Escaped Cage' Before Killing Woman
A volunteer worker was mauled to death by a lion after it apparently managed to open a cage door with its paw and entered an area she was cleaning, a coroner has said.
Dianna Hanson's neck was broken almost instantly when the 550lb (250kg) lion swiped her with his paw at a big cat sanctuary in California, said Fresno County Coroner David Hadden.
"The lion had been fed, the young woman was cleaning the large enclosure, and the lion was in the small cage. The gate of the cage was partially open, which allowed the lion to lift it up with his paw," Mr Hadden said.
"He ran at the young lady."
She had been talking to a colleague on the phone just before she was killed.
The co-worker became concerned when the conversation ended abruptly.
Mr Hadden said bite and claw marks found on the 26-year-old's body were inflicted by the four-year-old male named Cous Cous after she was already dead.
She was attacked inside an enclosure at Cat Haven in Dunlap by an African lion which had been raised at the park since it was a cub.
Another park worker tried unsuccessfully to lure the lion into a separate pen. The animal was later shot dead.
Ms Hanson's father Paul, a Seattle-area lawyer, said his daughter was "very excited" to be working there.
"It was just a dream job for her. She was absolutely fearless," he said.
He added that his daughter had been fascinated by big cats from a young age.
"She was disappointed because she said they wouldn't let her into the cages with the lion and tiger there."
Dale Anderson, who has run the sanctuary since 1993, cried as he read a short statement about the intern's death, extending his thoughts and prayers to the victim's family and friends.
Actress Tippi Hedren, who founded the Shambala Preserve in California for seized or abandoned exotic pets, expressed dismay over the killing of the lion.
"It wasn't the lion's fault. It's the human's fault always," she said.
Cat Haven, about 45 miles east of Fresno in the Sierra Nevada foothills, is a private sanctuary with two lions.
The park - which is home to about two dozen animals and has previously housed tigers, leopards and jaguars - has a good safety record.
An inspection by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in January 2011 found the sanctuary was in "good condition".
The owner of the zoo said safety protocols were in place but he would not discuss them because they are a part of the law enforcement investigation.
Mr Anderson said that he is the only person allowed in the enclosure when lions are present.
"We want to assure the community that we have followed all safety protocols," he said.
"We have been incident-free since 1998 when we opened."
Last year, another sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida, said that at least 21 people, including five children, have been killed and 246 mauled by exotic cats in the US since 1990.
Over that period, 254 cats escaped and 143 were killed.
what do you think?
Why kill the lion? Anyone climbing into a big cat enclosure knows there may be a slight risk to health.
Spose it was the only way they cud msyb have got the girl out with the possibility of her survivin unfortunate outcome on both sides these are always wild animals no matter how they have been brought up
Jagdip Singh Dani
once they get a taste of blood, its hard to overturn that. Which is why they are put down.
once they get a taste for blood ...? They feed them raw meat not a cooked sunday lunch. They killed the lion because it killed a woman, the secret is not to get in a cage with a fully grown lion. I've seen lions in the zoo, close up and never once thought about getting in with them.
polly dolly stick to being a dolly :) RIP
Humans cant tell difference in blood smell but lions can hence the phrase "they get a taste"
Why shoot the lion? The woman climbed into its cage
Im not surprised it killed someone they called it COUSCOUS it must have had a personality complex!!! Anyway it is tragic, but shouldn't of got into the enclosure in the first place. These are wild animals regardless of whether they are in a zoo or not
not much of a santuary for the lion. why did the deputy shoot it? it was in a cage.
because man is superior to animal and to get the beast away from the stup*d woman who climbed into its den/cage they couldnt just trank the animal they went all he-man and shot it.... aka man 1 beast 0
Why shoot it? The Lion is just doing what comes naturally to it. Such a shame. I feel more sorry for the Lion than I do the woman tbh
It didnt eat her it attacked her
Typically American reaction, get the gun out,leave any thinking till later. Morons
Once a big cat as had human blood thay keep killing until you shoot them
but it's separated from peole so it wouldn't have got a chance. why not kill all predators if that's the case?
the idiot girl was american as was the shooter say no more.
I've been to Big Cat rescue in Tampa. They do amazing work taking over animals which people buy as pets and then realise as lovely as they are, they are wild animals and not big domestic pets. They are lobbying to get the US government to stop people from having them as pets in order to prevent people being attacked and these animals being kept in conditions unfit for their size. One guy with a mental issue released his cats to attack, others have been left to starve when their owner dies. It is a pity the volunteer got carried away and swept into the moment of entering a cage as these staff are trained properly that these animals will turn on you.
Some man let out bears tigers lions lepords etc and cops had to shoot them .rember cop saying its the worst thing hr as had to do.
Even the main gates look useless,
The lion will be killed yet if you murder rape or beat some one up you get a fine madness really
Poor cat it was doing what it intended to do kill to survive ways what a wild animal does its not a fluffy toy
A dog dimesticated bites a human its put diwn why is a lion dufferent?
It isn't different. The lion was shot dead. Read it again.
also rob check spelling before pressing post or perhaps you think it is correct.
I think that might be Rob's point, Stew
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Just like i said yesterday even the main gate looked useless. If you cant get that bit right you must expect the rest to be just as useless. Like those running the show. This poor woman was good enough to volunteer her time but it cost her, Her Life.
it seems to me she must have flouted all the rules so tuff luck i do agree the whole site looks very shoddy.
The article states the lion was thought to be locked securely in a separate cage,so why blame the victim? Either way the outcome is sad as a woman has lost her life and another beautiful creature has died all cos it was acting as nature intended.
It didnt say that yesterday when the article first appeared on here
This report has changed. It initially stated she climbed into the cage, now it seems she was cleaning out whilst the lion was in its holding cage which it managed to open as the gate wasn't secured properly. Not her fault after all. The fault lies elsewhere. As for killing the lion that may have been the only option at the time. Pity.
would appear story has changed due to outrage it caused saying the lion had been shot !!!!
Or, maybe they received a little more information...!
utterly stupid brainless yanks.
There is some rubbish spouted on here. I assume they shot the lion to prevent it eating what may have been a still alive human. The rest of the pontificating is just nonsense.