A lion at the Conservators Center in North Carolina mauled and killed an intern who was cleaning its enclosure this past Sunday.
The Caswell County Police arrived, and after multiple failed attempts to tranquilize the animal, they fatally shot it so that they could retrieve the body of 22-year-old Alexandra Black. Black was a recent graduate of Indiana State University and had been working at the zoo for just two weeks.
According to BuzzFeed News:
“…a team led by a trained animal keeper was cleaning the enclosure when one lion escaped a locked space intended to keep it separate from the humans. Under the center’s safety protocols, lions are moved to the separate locked space before humans enter the lion enclosure. It wasn’t immediately clear how the lion escaped, the center said, and it quickly killed Black.”
According to Black’s LinkedIn, she had earned a bachelor’s degree in animal behavior and was looking to become a zookeeper.
The Conservators Center released this statement:
“We are a close-knit family of paid staff and volunteers and are devastated by the loss of this vibrant, smart young woman. Alex had undertaken multiple internships, the most recent of which was at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana. Her family has asked for those who would like to honor her memory to consider donating to Wolf Park, and we echo that request here.”
The Conservators Center is a nonprofit organization and home to more than 80 animals. The 15 lions in residence were rescued by the USDA from poor living conditions. The lion who mauled Black was named Matthai and was born in the center after his mother was rehomed while pregnant. As a rule, the Conservators Center does not breed animals.
People offered their condolences.
Lions gonna lion, humans gonna human.— melty cheese (@Chiconomas) December 30, 2018
RIP and condolences to all involved.— Carole Butler (@IslandsoulHi) December 30, 2018
Sad...— I'd Rather Fight... (@My_Principles_) December 30, 2018
Condolences to the family— Henry (@Fdr1942) December 31, 2018
Very sad especially this time of year
O no ! So awful. Very sorry for this person & the family.— babyk360 (@lkeen360) December 31, 2018
So sad. My prayers are with her family— Karen Craig (@toothdk32) December 31, 2018
I am praying for the family!— Treena bell (@treenab21) December 31, 2018
Our thoughts are with Alexandra Black’s family.