Wildlife Park Where Lion Killed Intern Reopens

Police were on site to answer questions about the death of Dianna Hanson

By Heather Navarro
|  Monday, Mar 11, 2013  |  Updated 7:45 AM EDT
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Wildlife Park Where Lion Killed Intern Reopens

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Dianna Hanson, a 24-year-old intern at the Cat Haven in Dunlap, Calif., was mauled to death by a lion at the exotic animal park on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. This undated photo provided by Paul Hanson shows his sister, Dianna Hanson. (AP Photo/Paul Hanson)

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A Central California wildlife and big cat conservation park reopened to the public Sunday morning after an intern was killed by an African lion last week.

MORE: Intern's Death Was Accidental, Family Says

The opening included a moment of silence in honor of Dianna Hanson, the 24-year-old who died Wednesday after the large cat escaped from its cage as she was cleaning a larger enclosure at the facility, called Cat Haven.

Hanson worked at the park, in Dunlap, for two months before she died in what family members said was her dream job.

Many visitors were waiting to enter the park at the reopening, a volunteer said.

In the deadly incident Wednesday, the 550-pound lion lifted the door of its cage with a paw before attacking Hanson, investigators said. Hanson died immediately of a broken neck, according to the autopsy report.

The lion, known as Cous Cous, had already been fed -- and the cage door unlatched -- when it escaped, Fresno County coroner David Hadden said.

Dale Anderson, the founder of Cat Haven, honored Hanson with a moment of silence at 3 p.m.

Hanson's family members were not present at the reopening because they live out of state, a park volunteer said.

After the attack, sheriff deputies shot Cous Cous after the animal refused to leave Hanson’s body, according to reports.

Anderson said safety protocols were in place at the time of the attack.

Cat Haven is a 100-acre private zoo run by a nonprofit group that cares for exotic animals including lions, tigers, lynxes, and jaguars.

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