A lion at a North Carolina Zoo left a locked space during a routine cleaning and entered a space where humans were and quickly killed one of the workers, an intern who had recently graduated.
The lion was shot by sheriff deputies in orderto allow for the retrieval of the victim, who was identified as Alexandra Black.
Black was working at the Conservators Center in Burlington in North Carolina. The victim was a native of New Palestine in Indiana and a recent graduate of Indiana State University, according to the Caswell County Sheriff’s Office.
“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,” the Center said in a statement.
“It is unclear at this time how the lion left the locked enclosure. At no time did the lion ever enter a space that was not enclosed by the park’s perimeter fence.”
There were visitors onsite at the center but officials said an established safety protocol to ensure a safe and immediate exit from the animal park was put in place as soon as staff knew the lion had escaped.
“This is an ongoing investigation and we have no further details at this time.”
The lion was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies. The center said it is investigating how the lion escaped its enclosure and that the zoo will be closed until further notice.