Lion escapes enclosure, kills worker

A lion killed a worker Sunday at a North Carolina zoological park after it escaped a locked enclosure during...

Posted: Dec 31, 2018 2:12 PM
Updated: Dec 31, 2018 2:12 PM

A lion killed a worker Sunday at a North Carolina zoological park after it escaped a locked enclosure during a routine cleaning, officials said.

As a team led by a trained animal keeper cleaned the enclosure, "One of the lions somehow left a locked space and entered the space the humans were in and quickly killed one person," the Conservators Center in Burlington, west of Durham, said on its Facebook page.

Animals

Apprenticeships and internships

Labor and employment

Life forms

Lions

Mammals

Workers and professionals

Destinations and attractions

Points of interest

Zoos and aquariums

"The Conservators Center is devastated by the loss of a human life today," the center said.

The center did not name the worker but the Caswell County Sheriff's Office identified her as Alexandra Black, a 22-year-old recent graduate of Indiana State University. Black, a native of New Palestine, Indiana, had been an intern at the Conservators Center for about two weeks, the sheriff's office said.

Black's "passion was the zoological industry -- this was not this person's first internship," the center's executive director, Mindy Stinner, said, according to CNN affiliate WNCN.

"And this person wanted to spend a lifetime around these animals," Stinner said in an emotional press conference.

Black was not a staff member but was working under the supervision of a staff member, according to Stinner.

Male lion was shot and killed

The male lion was euthanized, Stinner said. It was unclear how the lion escaped, the center said.

Stinner said all large cats are locked in a separate area from humans during the routine cleanings.

"At no time did the lion ever enter a space that was not enclosed by the park's perimeter fence," she said.

Stinner said visitors were at the park but officials safely and quickly got them out of the park.

"This is not a situation we've ever had before. Safety is a very, very important feature of running any zoological park," she said.

Center is closed until further notice

The zoological park houses more than 80 animals, including tigers, small wild cats and other small carnivores, according to its website. It offers guided walking tours near the animal enclosures. The park is regulated the US Department of Agriculture, according to Stinner.

Stinner, an educator, co-founded the center in 1999 in Mebane, North Carolina, as an educational nonprofit to provide a home for select carnivore species, according to the center's website. It relocated to a 45-acre swath in 2004, the website said.

Stinner said they first started doing rescue and sanctuary work, but moved away from that emphasis and worked with more species, trying to involve the community more.

"We like to think of ourselves as kind of a community zoo," she said.

The center is closed until further notice, officials said.

"We need to assess our situation, and we need to make sure that everyone here is safe and feels safe," Stinner said, "because this is a very scary thing."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 150664

Reported Deaths: 4008
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion24697784
Lake13220352
St. Joseph8877159
Elkhart8469132
Allen7880222
Hamilton5962113
Vanderburgh559360
Tippecanoe354714
Monroe320738
Hendricks3183130
Johnson2995128
Porter297848
Clark285461
Delaware282074
Vigo252637
Madison229593
Cass222021
LaPorte215557
Warrick188464
Kosciusko176823
Floyd174867
Howard158866
Bartholomew139758
Dubois135125
Marshall132526
Henry122628
Grant120939
Wayne119327
Boone118848
Hancock114145
Noble113533
Jackson108713
Morgan92240
Dearborn91628
Daviess84033
Gibson83411
Clinton81616
Shelby79429
Lawrence78534
LaGrange76715
Harrison74024
Putnam71016
Knox70310
DeKalb69411
Posey6796
Steuben6008
Fayette58517
Miami5845
Montgomery57222
White56815
Jasper5624
Greene51837
Scott50813
Decatur49839
Adams4725
Clay4346
Whitley4316
Sullivan42812
Ripley4228
Wells4155
Starke3937
Wabash3919
Orange38725
Huntington3785
Spencer3706
Franklin36525
Jennings36013
Washington3592
Randolph3398
Fulton3362
Jefferson3305
Pike31913
Carroll31413
Perry29514
Jay2876
Fountain2863
Tipton26823
Parke2203
Newton21811
Vermillion2181
Rush2044
Owen2021
Martin1950
Blackford1923
Crawford1491
Pulaski1471
Brown1303
Ohio1227
Benton1070
Union1040
Switzerland890
Warren751
Unassigned0233

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 185639

Reported Deaths: 5083
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin30978635
Cuyahoga19436675
Hamilton16234338
Montgomery10083186
Lucas8175370
Butler8028123
Summit6555261
Warren406360
Stark3696178
Mahoning3635283
Marion335149
Pickaway296946
Delaware281127
Lorain266689
Fairfield257856
Licking248865
Wood244681
Clark242454
Clermont234937
Trumbull2221134
Greene219640
Columbiana210187
Allen203873
Miami195656
Lake188357
Medina180242
Portage156167
Mercer147128
Ross133833
Wayne131568
Richland128624
Tuscarawas123622
Athens11742
Erie113853
Darke110151
Madison103514
Hancock103023
Auglaize95116
Putnam91527
Lawrence90725
Shelby86814
Muskingum8434
Geauga83650
Scioto8059
Belmont78427
Union7343
Ashtabula72148
Huron69910
Sandusky69422
Preble59517
Seneca58514
Holmes57010
Ottawa56830
Fulton5056
Jefferson4564
Henry45317
Defiance44413
Jackson4417
Clinton43613
Fayette4328
Crawford4308
Highland4024
Logan4023
Champaign3873
Ashland3735
Brown3683
Knox36215
Perry35411
Washington33323
Morrow3312
Hardin32113
Williams3194
Coshocton29812
Pike2880
Guernsey2878
Wyandot28413
Gallia27913
Van Wert2333
Meigs21012
Adams2036
Carroll1917
Paulding1901
Hocking1899
Monroe15218
Noble1210
Vinton903
Harrison793
Morgan740
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 54°
Angola
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 52°
Huntington
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Decatur
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 55°
Van Wert
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 55°
Warmer Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events