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Lion mauls intern to death at California wildcat sanctuary

- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2013

A 24-year-old Seattle woman working as an intern at a California wildcat sanctuary was mauled to death by her favorite lion, a 350-pound African beast named Cous Cous.

Dianna Hanson was mauled and killed on Wednesday when she entered the 5-year-old lion's cage, CNN reports. She had been working at the Northern California facility, the Cat Haven sanctuary, since January, and her Facebook page contained more pictures of lions and tigers than of her human friends, CNN said.

Sanctuary officials have yet to explain why Ms. Hanson was in the lion's cage. An investigation is continuing, CNN reported. But at least one sanctuary employee did try to help her escape, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said.

"But all attempts failed," sheriffs said, in a statement reported by CNN. "The victim died at the scene."

Deputies shot and killed the lion in order to get to Ms. Hanson, CNN said.

Earlier this week, and halfway across the globe, rogue lions killed two in a Zimbabwe village. Law enforcement officials there found two bodies partially eaten by the lions and immediately placed nearby villagers on alert.

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