TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Investigators want to know why woman entered lion's enclosure in California

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Thursday, March 7, 2013, 9:12 p.m.
 

DUNLAP, Calif. — A 24-year-old intern who was described by her father as a “fearless” lover of big cats ventured into a lion enclosure at a privately owned zoo and was mauled to death, prompting investigations by several government agencies that want to know how the accident happened.

Dianna Hanson, whose Facebook page is plastered with photos of her petting tigers and other big cats, was frustrated that the exotic cat zoo in California where she had worked since January did not allow direct contact with animals, her father said.

“She was disappointed because she said they wouldn't let her into the cages with the lion and tiger there,” Paul Hanson said about Cat Haven, the site of the deadly mauling on Wednesday.

The owner of 100-acre site in the Sierra Nevada foothills said Thursday that safety protocols were in place but he would not discuss them because they are a part of the law enforcement investigation. He, too, is trying to determine whether they were followed.

For reasons still being investigated, Dianna Hanson entered the enclosure of a male African lion named Cous Cous on a day that Cat Haven, 45 miles east of Fresno, was closed to the public.

The 4-year-old lion, which had lived at the park since it was a cub, attacked Hanson and was later shot by Fresno County sheriff's deputies who were trying to reach her body.

Autopsy results revealed the young woman died quickly of a broken neck, possibly from a paw swipe by the 550-pound lion, and the numerous bites and scratches she sustained were inflicted after she died.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Police try to see if man killed by escort was linked to crimes against women
  2. Boy Scouts of America votes to end controversial ban on openly gay leaders
  3. House Benghazi panel says State Department to hand over documents Tuesday
  4. El Niño helps, harms economies
  5. House backs bill to help vets who’ve suffered sexual assault
  6. Lawyers: Immigrant mothers coerced to wear ankle monitors in Texas
  7. Oklahoma court: Ten Commandments monument at Capitol must go
  8. Republicans seek firing of IRS chief in feud over missing emails
  9. National Security Agency to stop looking at old telephone records
  10. Georgia judge says she did not involuntarily commit Louisiana movie theater gunman Houser
  11. House, Senate clash over highway funds before Friday deadline