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Lion kills female volunteer at California zoo (+video)

Lion kills female volunteer, who was a new intern at Cat Haven, a private exotic animal park. Sheriff's deputies shot the lion after it had killed the female volunteer.

Couscous, the lion, killed Dianna Hanson,a female volunteer. The lion was later fatally shot by deputies.
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Authorities want to know what provoked a lion at an exotic animal park in California to maul to death a 24-year-old woman who had been working as an intern for just a few weeks.

The woman was killed Wednesday when she entered the male African lion's enclosure at Cat Haven, authorities said.

Sheriff's deputies found her severely injured and still lying inside the enclosure with the lion nearby, Fresno County sheriff's Lt. Bob Miller said. Another park worker couldn't lure the lion into another pen, so deputies shot and killed it. But the woman died at the scene, Miller said.

Paul Hanson, a Seattle-area attorney, identified the victim as his daughter Dianna Hanson.

"She was very excited," Hanson told The Associated Press late Wednesday. "It was just a dream job for her."

He said his daughter had been fascinated by big cats from an earlier age.

"She was absolutely fearless," he said.

Cat Haven founder and executive director Dale Anderson was crying as he read a one-sentence statement about the fatal mauling at the private zoo he has operated since 1993.

"We take every precaution to ensure the safety of our staff, animals and guests," he said.

The lion, a 4-year-old male named Cous Cous, had been raised at Cat Haven since it was a cub, said Tanya Osegueda, a spokeswoman for Project Survival, the nonprofit that operates the animal park.

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