24-year-old intern Dianna Hanson was killed by a 500lb. African lion at the Cat Haven big cat sanctuary, located 45 miles east of Fresno, California. Hanson was attacked inside the enclosure, and died due to a broken neck after being mauled by the four-year old male lion named Cous Cous. Cat Haven was not open to the public at the time of the attack, and investigators aren’t sure why or how she entered the lion’s cage.
Because first responders could not lure Cous Cous away from Dianna, they had to shoot and kill the lion. Those who knew her remembered Dianna as having a passion for the lions and tigers at the sanctuary and that working at Cat Haven was her “dream job.”
Cat Haven was founded in 1993, and currently houses 28 exotic animals. These include jaguars, tigers, bobcats and rare leopards.