Tragedy struck at a North Carolina wildlife park on Sunday when a lion escaped from a locked area and attacked a 22-year-old intern. According to multiple sources, Alexandra Black, a recent graduate of Indiana University, was killed on Sunday while performing a routine cleaning of the lion’s enclosure at the Conservator Center in Burlington. Though Black was killed instantly, the lion was also killed in order to allow officials to receive the woman’s body.
The lion, named Matthai, had been placed in a locked area while a crew worked to clean its enclosure, but somehow escaped. Personnel attempted to tranquilize the lion – when their efforts failed, a deputy shot and killed him.
A devastated family
The Indy Channel released a statement from Black’s family:
“Our beautiful, intelligent, passionate Alex had worked, unpaid, at several animal-related ventures, most recently at Wolf Park in Battleground, Ind. This was her fourth internship, because she really wanted to make a career of working with animals,” the family said in the statement. “She was looking forward to this first out-of-state internship at the Convervators Center in North Carolina that started 10 days ago.
She was a beautiful young woman who had just started her career, there was a terrible accident, and we are mourning. But, she died following her passion.”
On Sunday afternoon, the Conservators Center stated:
The Conservators Center is devastated by the loss of a human life today. While a husbandry team led by a professionally trained animal keeper was carrying out a routine enclosure cleaning, one of the lions somehow left a locked space and entered the space the humans were in and quickly killed one person. It is unclear at this time how the lion left the locked enclosure. The lion was shot and killed to allow Caswell County personnel to retrieve the worker. This is an ongoing investigation and we have no further details at this time. We will offer more information as we know more. The Conservators Center will be closed until further notice.
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