Intern Killed in Lion Attack ‘Living Her Dream’ — Carolyn Costello Reports

Family members say the young woman mauled by a lion yesterday at the Fresno County wild animal sanctuary Cat Haven was living her dream, working with wild cats.

But Dianna Hansen’s father says he worried about his 24-year-old daughter who began her internship in January.

“I always had this horrible, nagging premonition that I would get a call like this,” Hanson’s father, Paul says.

A preliminary autopsy suggests Hanson died quickly from a fractured neck and “some suffocation.”

According to the Fresno County Coroner the neck injury apparently  came from a swipe of the lion’s paw.

Then  “numerous claw marks and bite damage followed.

The 4-year-old male African lion, named Cous Cous, was raised from a cub at the Cat Haven Sanctuary.

“She absolutely adored Cous Cous. She had spoken very highly of that lion,”  Paul Hanson.

It still isn’t known how or why Dianna Hansen ended up, alone in  an enclosure with the 5o0 lb lion.

Hansen and another volunteer were alone on the roughly 100 acre park which was closed yesterday…when the attack occurred.

Friends said the routine was to feed the cats by putting food in a small enclosure, getting out and then letting the animals inside from a larger enclosure.

Somehow Cous Cous got out of the feeding den and into the larger area where Hansen was cleaning and chatting on the phone.

The investigation continues into how that happened since the heavy gate separating the two areas can only be lifted.

Tonight the family of Dianna Hansen, still coming to grips with what happened, says her internship with Cous Cous and the other wild cats brought her immense happiness in the short time she was there.

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