Worker is Killed-The Lion now Dead 

Lion that attacked and killed worker is euthanized, report says

Authorities are investigating a lion attack at a wild cat sanctuary in Fresno County where one worker is believed to have been killed.

Corin Hoggard, a Fresno television station reporter with ABC 30, is reporting on Twitter that a male lion named Cous Cous has been euthanized after the fatal attack on one of his handlers at Project Survival’s Cat Haven in Dunlap.

The station reported that a male worker was killed while inside the lion’s cage.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department and California Department of Fish and Wildlife are responding to the animal park, which was founded in 1993 and sits on 100 acres about 15 miles west of King’s Canyon National Park and 40 miles east of Fresno. It describes itself as an “innovative park dedicated to the preservation of wild cats.”

The Sheriff’s Department and Cal Fire confirmed with The Times that they had responded to the lion attack. Dan Lynch, director of Fresno County’s Emergency Medical Services, confirmed the attack was fatal. He did not have details on the victim or circumstances of the attack.

According to Cat Haven’s answering machine, the park is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays for its “winter hours.” Calls and messages were not immediately returned.

“Project Survival’s Cat Haven promotes the conservation and preservation of wild cats in their native habitat by educating visitors and publicizing the work done by Project Survival Cat Conservation Group,” its website states.


Lion mauls, kills female intern at California animal sanctuary

Authorities are trying to determine what caused a lion to maul and fatally attack a female intern volunteer at a private wild animal park in California Wednesday.

Q13 Fox reports 24-year-old Seattle native Dianna Hanson was identified as the victim of the attack by her father, Paul Hanson.

“Please honor Dianna’s memory by helping her favorite cause: preserving the remaining big cats in the world,” Paul Hansen said in a statement. “She would ask us to do that for her.”

Paul Hansen said his daughter was thrilled to begin her six-month long internship, and that she frequently posted pictures of the animals on her Facebook page, including the lion that killed her.

The victim was attacked and killed when she entered the lion’s enclosure, Cat Haven founder and executive director Dale Anderson said. Anderson was crying as he read a one-sentence statement about the fatal mauling at the exotic animal zoo he has operated since 1993.

KMPH reports deputies shot and killed the lion, a 4-year-old named Cous Cous that has been raised at Cat Haven since it was 8 months old, in order to provide medical attention to Hansen.

Sheriff’s deputies responding to an emergency call from Cat Haven, in the Sierra Nevada foothills about 45 miles east of Fresno, found the woman severely injured and still lying inside the enclosure with the lion nearby, Fresno County sheriff’s Lt. Bob Miller said.

Investigators were trying to determine why the intern was inside the enclosure and what might have provoked the attack, sheriff’s Sgt. Greg Collins said. The facility is normally closed on Wednesdays, and only one other worker was there when the mauling happened, Collins said.

Cat Haven is a 100-acre facility just west of Kings Canyon National Park. Since the property opened in 1993, it has housed numerous big cats, including tigers, leopards and other exotic species. It is permitted to house exotic animals by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and is regulated as a zoo by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Results of the last 13 inspections by the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service show no violations dating back to March 2010. The most recent inspection was Feb. 4, USDA records show.

Despite state regulations that require annual inspections, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife most recently inspected the facility in January 2011.

“We have to do the best we can with the resources we’re provided,” said department spokeswoman Jordan Traverso.

The inspector’s written comments were “facility in good condition.” The inspector checked gates, enclosures, water supplies, drainage, cleanliness, ventilation and the general health of the animals.

Department spokeswoman Janice Mackey said she was unaware if any state regulations would prohibit an employee from entering an exotic animal’s enclosure.

She said each species is identified on the permit, and the animals must be used for scientific or educational purposes only.

“We don’t allow them to be used as pets,” Mackey said.

Actress Tippi Hedren, who founded the Shambala Preserve in Southern California, home to 53 seized or abandoned exotic pets, expressed dismay over the killing of the lion.

“It wasn’t the lion’s fault. It’s the human’s fault always. I’ve got 40 years behind me. I know what I’m talking about,” Hedren said.

A movie was made at Shambala several years ago and several people were injured. “Two were nearly killed,” she said.

“Lions are one of the four most dangerous animals in the world. There is nothing you can do. When they get a thought pattern, there is nothing short of a bullet to the brain that will stop them,” Hedren said.

Nicole Paquette, vice president of the Human Society of the United States, voiced similar concerns.

“She should have never been in the enclosure with him,” Paquette said of the victim. “These are big cats that are extremely dangerous, and they placed a volunteer in the actual cage with a wild animal. That should have never happened.”

Officials at another big cat sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla., told The Associated Press last year that at least 21 people, including five children, have been killed and 246 mauled by exotic cats since 1990. Over that period, 254 cats escaped and 143 were killed.

Tatiana, a tiger at the San Francisco Zoo, was killed by police after jumping out of its enclosure and fatally mauling a 17-year-old boy and injuring two other people in 2007.

Cat Haven has housed Bengal tigers, Siberian lynx, caracals, jaguars and leopards of various types as well as bobcats native to the area. Anderson described the private zoo several years ago as one of a handful of facilities across the U.S. that has all of the big cat species in one place.

The facility’s website says it promotes conservation and preservation of wild cats in their native habitats and offers visitors tours and educational outreach.

Anderson said Project Survival would investigate to see if the intern and the other worker who was on-site followed the group’s protocols.

“We take every precaution to ensure the safety of our staff, animals and guests,” he said in a written statement.


Doesn’t take long for the vultures (no pun intended) to swoop in with their 2 cents on this incident…HSUS rep shows no respect as usual…

Officer at the gate of Cat Haven, where a woman was killed by a lion.

As authorities investigate how a lion killed a woman inside an enclosure at a Fresno County animal park, an official with the Humane Society of the United States said it was “completely irresponsible” to allow anyone in a cage with a dangerous animal.

There were only two volunteers, both women in their 20s, at the 93-acre Project Survival Cat Haven when one of the women was attacked by the 4-year-old African lion shortly before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, officials said.

Few details about what happened before the attack were released, including why the two volunteers were left unsupervised with the lions, bobcats and other dangerous animals at the park.

“These animals are ticking time bombs waiting to explode,” said Nicole Paquette,  vice president of wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States. “It’s completely irresponsible to allow someone to go into the enclosure with a dangerous wild animal.”

Friends of workers said volunteers fed the cats about noon. The usual method is to go into a small enclosure, leave the food, get out, then let the lions inside from a larger enclosure. According to the sanctuary’s guideline, caregivers should never be inside  with the animals.

Dale Anderson, a former commercial pilot who founded the park in the 1990s, came outside the gates to read a statement to reporters who had gathered at the facility.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and family at this time,” Anderson said, choking up. “We’ll keep you posted as things progress around here.”

When officers arrived, the remaining volunteer had repeatedly tried to coax Cous Cous – a 4-year-old male African lion, – into another enclosure, away from the victim.

Police shot the lion before rushing to the injured woman, according to officials with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department.  They did not say whether the woman was in the larger enclosure or the feeding area.

Fresno County Emergency Medical Services received a call about 12:32 p.m. to respond to Cat Haven, but the call was canceled at 12:52 because the young woman had died, officials said. Her name was not released.

A young man visiting from Italy, the boyfriend of the volunteer who found the victim, came to the park but was not allowed inside.

“I always worried about her working with lions and jaguars and bobcats” he said. “But they were always very careful. She must be in shock. I just want to go to her.”

Cat Haven is nonprofit organization that provides shelter for “large wild feline cats,” helps create educational opportunities for elementary schools and funds conservation efforts, according to its most recent tax filing with the Internal Revenue Service.

Janice Mackey, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman, said the department had taken custody of the lion’s body and will assist the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department with its investigation.

The park is licensed through the state and everything was in order, Mackey said, adding that the state agency was unaware of any previous problems.

Paquette said the tragedy underscores the need for more stringent guidelines regulating how workers interact with dangerous animals.

“The Department of Fish and Wildlife needs to take a hard look at its existing regulations,” she told The Times.

The facility is also regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has conducted at least five routine inspections of the site since October 2011, according to records reviewed by The Times. The inspection reports show that the park was found to be in compliance with federal regulations.

Cous Cous had been raised by hand at the park since he was 8 weeks old, said Project Survival spokeswoman Tanya Osegueda.

“It’s so tragic all the way around,” she said.


ALPINE, Calif. – A San Diego-area animal rescuer said attacks can be prevented simply by not coming in contact with the animals.

A 26-year-old volunteer intern was mauled to death Wednesday afternoon at the Project Survival Cat Haven in Dunlap. Fresno County authorities said she was inside the cage with the four-year-old lion named Cous Cous.

The circumstances surrounding the attack remain under investigation.

Cous Cousapr242009 016

“The female volunteer intern entered the lion’s enclosure where she was attacked and fatally injured,” said Dale Anderson, founder of Project Survival Cat Haven. “The lion was shot and killed per our safety protocols.”

The situation is difficult for Bobbi Brink, who founded the Lions, Tigers and Bears Animal Rescue in Alpine 10 years ago.

“If something happens to us, then we’ve totally defeated our purpose,” said Brink. “Because nine times out of 10 they’re going to kill the animal.”

At Brink’s facility there are two secure fences surrounding all of the animals. There are strict regulations about who can enter inside the perimeter fence, but no is allowed to enter a cage when an animal is inside.

“We don’t go in the enclosures with the animals,” said Brink. “We practice what we call protective contact. There’s always a piece of fence or cage between us and the animals.”

Brink said attacks are “very rare” when safety measures like hers are followed. She said at facilities where keepers come in contact with the animals it’s impossible to predict what will happen.

“This is dangerous when you do it right,” said Brink. “Let alone when you’re going inside the enclosure.”

Brink said there’s also a bigger issue surrounding exotic animals in the United States.

“We need the public to know,” said Brink. “The exotic animal trade is second to drugs and weapons in our country.”

Brink said more regulation is needed throughout the country.

“There’s thousands of animals that are in improper housing,” said Brink. “Right now, we’re working on a federal bill that stops private ownership and stops the breeding of these animals, because there are so many of them. We can’t find them all homes.”


Here comes the BULLSHIT!!! -“Right now, we’re working on a federal bill that stops private ownership and stops the breeding of these animals, because there are so many of them. We can’t find them all homes.” Seriously?!? Keep creating bans and regulations that are near impossible to meet in every state and there will be a shortage of homes including PROPER HOMES for these animals with people with the proper training, knowledge and skills…keep creating circumstance where people who could and should have these animals but can’t with laws making it near impossible or authorities seizing animals fearing what they don’t know, going out of their way to proclaim themselves heroes by getting rid of the animals no matter what laws they break to do it!!!-first hand information!!!

I am sure we will be hearing about this incident for weeks to come with many of the wrong people taking the highlight rather than REAL animal people.

Jack Hanna will make the media rounds and then go borrow someone’s exotic animal for his shows…Maybe for once he will state the truth so we don’t see sanctuaries and other experienced and qualified exotic private owners ‘thrown under the bus’…The situation with exotic animal ownership has become controversial indeed!!!

ike HSUS, other places will jump on this bandwagon to accomplish their personal agenda…Moving on to the BULLSHIT!!!

What do I know?!? More than 2 decades with big cats and without the proper information on what happened-no comment…Rarely do accidents happen but when they do, the troops gather for their agenda…including claims it will never happen at their facility-HA! Accidents are usually human error…Sometimes the animal…

It takes years to develop a ‘bond with an animal’ not months, I venture to say this was an accident of ‘volunteer error’, even her dad stating she was without fear…and saddens me for all concerned.

Actual statics, go here:   (2012 there were no fatalities)

Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and then opinion of others…Stay tuned and follow this blog  Best -B


~ by topcatsroar on March 7, 2013.

One Response to “Worker is Killed-The Lion now Dead”

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