DUNLAP, Calif. -- A female intern-volunteer was killed Wednesday by a lion at a private wild animal park in Central California, the founder of the facility said.
Cat Haven founder and executive director Dale Anderson was crying as he read a one-sentence statement about the fatal mauling at the exotic animal zoo he has operated since 1993.
The intern was attacked and killed when she entered the lion's enclosure, he said.
He refused to take questions from reporters, but extended thoughts and prayers to the victim's friends and relatives.
The male African lion, a 4-year-old male named Couscous, had been raised at Cat Haven since it was a cub, said Tanya Osegueda, a spokeswoman for Project Survival, the nonprofit that operates Cat Haven.
Investigators were trying to determine why the intern was inside the enclosure and what might have provoked the attack, Fresno County sheriff's Sgt. Greg Collins said.
The facility, which is licensed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, is about 45 miles east of Fresno in the Sierra Nevada foothills. It is normally closed on Wednesdays, and only one other worker was there when the mauling happened, Collins said.
He said the county received an emergency call from Cat Haven about 12:30 p.m., and a second call 20 minutes later reporting the injured person had died.