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Animal conservatory intern killed by lion

Posted On: Jan. 2, 2019 9:24 AM CST

Animal conservatory intern killed by lion

A 22-year-old intern was killed at a North Carolina animal conservatory when a lion escaped an enclosure and attacked her.

Alexandra Black had recently begun a husbandry internship at the Conservators Center in Mebane, North Carolina, and was part of a team cleaning a lion enclosure on Dec. 30 when a lion who had been locked into a separate holding enclosure somehow managed to enter the enclosure where the team was working, according to a statement issued by the conservatory on Monday.

“When our husbandry teams clean big cat enclosures they follow a safety protocol that involves moving the cats into a separate space and securing them before humans enter the adjacent space,” the conservatory said in a statement. “The specifics of what happened are still under investigation.”

No other humans were injured, but the lion, Matthai, was euthanized by first responders, according to the statement.

The North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Division was notified and has opened an investigation, a spokeswoman said via email.

“The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether or not any occupational safety and health standards were violated and/or contributed to the incident,” the spokeswoman said. “We have very limited details at this time."