Lion kills California animal sanctuary intern

March 7, 2013

lion2A 350 pound lion mauled a 24-year-old woman to death Wednesday at an animal sanctuary in Fresno County. [CNN]

Diana Hanson, a Seattle native, was an intern at the 100-acre wild animal sanctuary Cat Haven located 45 miles west of Fresno. Hanson’s father said the lion who killed her, Cous Cous, was one of his daughter’s favorites.

Cous Cous attacked Hanson Wednesday while the 24-year-old was in the lion’s cage. Fresno County Sherif’s Deputies responded to the animal park and shot and killed the lion when it would not move away from Hanson into another enclosure. But, Hanson died on the scene before emergency personnel could attempt to save her.

Cat Haven did not release an explanation for Hanson being in the lion’s cage, but said it would investigate whether workers had followed safety protocols. Hanson had just begun working at the animal park in January.

The victim’s father described the death of his daughter as “bearable” because she died doing what she loved. Hanson’s Facebook page contained more photos of lions and tigers than of humans.

Sheriff’s deputies subsequently shot the lion to death. It had appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres television show when it was about three months old. DeGeneres fed the lion, which died Wednesday at the age of five.

Head of The Jungle Jenny Foundation Jenny Michaels told CNN that she had previously been inside Cous Cous’s cage, along with a Cat Haven worker, and that the lion did not demonstrate any aggressive behavior.


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Animals are animals, never trust one that can eat you, bigger or faster than you. Never…..not even a your favorite pony.

Why was the lion at a sanctuary? It wasn’t old or apparently crippled. Was it abandoned by its mother in the wilds of Fresno? Did some zoo have too many lions?

Most likely it was given up or taken away from the owner because it’s understandably against the law to have an African lion for a pet. Between giant snakes, big cats,bears, alligators, etc… people think they can tame wild animals and turn them into pets. And the animal regulation people end up having to confiscate them.

And instead of putting such animals down, they put together these sanctuaries to give then a long life in captivity? It is sad and unfotunate that this young woman was killed, but I can’t say it’s surprising.

It’s an African lion for crying out loud. What do people expect?

I used to work with a guy in Modesto who had an alligator. He got it when it was 6 inches long or so and had raised it for several years. He took me to see it one day.

He had it in a water tight boxed enclosure with some water and some space to haul out and sun itself.

I got my face a little too close to he cage and the dang thing, which was about 3 feet long, whipped its head in my direction and snapped those jaws at me, then whipped its tail and swung around, all lightning fast.

Scared the living hell out of me. I told Tim he wass crazy to keep the thing and it was going to bite his nose or one of his hands off some day.

Sure as hell, the thing bit him one day and he gave it away to a zoo that had another gator in an exhibit.

You want a pet? Get a cat, they’re dangrous enough

“It is sad and unfotunate that this young woman was killed, but I can’t say it’s surprising. It’s an African lion for crying out loud. What do people expect?”

Well put, yet me thinks will fall on deaf ears…

My mother told me many things…some registered and some did not. One thing I do remember her saying to me was…do not play on the freeway.

so sad. For both human and animal.

I just don’t get it. The people who want to be up close to the chimpanzees and the guy who lived with the bears. Oh, and the guy who swore his pet hippo was his best friend. Oh, and the magician who….. ok, I’ll stop now.

It’s all good –until one day all of a sudden it’s not. And then you’re life is over. I can remember sitting at a circus and watching this fool make tigers stand on stools with a whip and a chair. I always thought to myself “Are you kidding me? One blink and that Tiger is through the whip and chair and shaking you by the neck like a rag doll”.

Yup, that’s what happened to Siegried & Roy. Roy fell down during a show and a tiger (his favorite) grabbed him by the back of the neck and ended up “shaking him like a rag doll”. His injuries were very severe and it took almost a year for him to convalesce and recover.

RIP young lady…

Much like the idiot from Malibu who took his girl friend to Alaska to “be one with the bears”, and both got eaten. Life and nature are cruel and harsh, but they are exact in thier measure.

The cats are their because of other humans bad judgement and inability to properly care for these wild carnivores(see man eaters)…

Agreed, abigchocoholic. I’m in no way a PETA-type animal rights whacko….BUT I refuse to patronize a circus or go to a Vegas animal show because it’s just not right to exploit bears, lions, tigers, etc. As has been said, they are WILD animals, people!! Kinda reminds me of that poor tiger stuck in A-town’s itty bitty little zoo….sad!

So much for the noble savage… these ARE wild animals. Polar Bears aren’t cute little innocent creatures, either, but I’ve heard more than one young head full of mush claim they want to “work with them” – my goodness, what is happening to us?

I feel for this young woman’s family, but one has to know that “working with lions” is not a safe job.

” Polar Bears aren’t cute little innocent creatures”

Actually r0y, they are “cute little innocent creatures”! They absolutely are,.and some of them are cute big innocent creatures. People have to learn not to “play with” everything that is cute and innocent. They aren’t meant to be your friends or pets. That is what dogs and cats are for and maybe rabbits and chickens and squirrels and pigs and and and…….

Even when they kill and eat their young? You might want to re-think the ‘cute’ part if you ever see one in person… just sayin’