A female intern who was killed by a lion at a California sanctuary should never have been allowed in the enclosure, the Humane Society said.
A volunteer died Wednesday when a 4-year-old African lion attacked her in an enclosure at Cat Haven in Dunlap, Calif., The Fresno Bee reported. The refuge, operated by Project Survival, is in the Sierra foothills 40 miles east of Fresno.
Another female volunteer who was with the 24-year-old woman tried to get the lion off her, officials said. The two women were the only people at Cat Haven when the attack occurred, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
CNN said the victim's father identified the dead woman as Dianna Hanson.
Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States, said lions can be dangerous, describing them as "ticking time bombs waiting to explode."
"It's completely irresponsible to allow someone to go into the enclosure with a dangerous wild animal," she said of the incident.
The African lion, Cous Cous, was a 4-year-old male which had been at the sanctuary since he was 8 months old, officials said. Police killed the lion to stop the attack, the Times reported.
Dale Anderson, who founded the sanctuary in 1998, talked to reporters Wednesday afternoon but released little information about the attack or why the victim was in an enclosure with the lion. He said the sanctuary will review its procedures.
Lt. Tony Spada, the local state Fish and Wildlife warden, said his department and the sheriff's office will investigate the attack.
"This place has a good history -- up to this point," Spada added. "This is a situation where somebody was too close to a lion."
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