‘It was her passion’: Family of college graduate, 22, mauled to death by a lion which escaped a LOCKED enclosure at a North Carolina zoo speak out, after facility confirms the animal was shot dead when attempts to tranquilize it failed
- The heartbroken family of a North Carolina preserve intern has spoken out
- Alexandra Black, 22, a graduate of Indiana State University, died on Sunday
- She was mauled to death by a lion at Conservators Center in Burlington
- Loved ones said the recent college graduate died ‘following her passion’
- Black, a native of New Palestine, Indiana, was part of a team doing a routine cleaning at the facility
- Investigators are trying to determine how the lion, a male named Matthai, got out of the locked area
- The lion was shot and killed by zoo officials immediately after the attack
- Officials said several attempts were made to tranquilize the animal, but those failed
- There are a total of 14 lions at the Conservators Center, which rescues animals from ‘unacceptable living conditions’
The heartbroken family of a North Carolina preserve intern who was mauled to death by a lion that escaped its enclosure said the recent college graduate died ‘following her passion’.
Alexandra Black, 22, was killed by a male lion named Matthai while working Sunday at the Conservators Center in Burlington.
Officials said an animal husbandry team led by a keeper was doing a routine cleaning when one of the lions managed to break free from a locked space.
Matthai then entered the area where the team was cleaning and quickly mauled Black to death.
Her loved ones since released a statement seen on ABC News: ‘Our beautiful, intelligent, passionate Alex had worked, unpaid, at several animal-related ventures.
‘This was her fourth internship, because she really wanted to make a career of working with animals.’
Black’s family described her again as ‘a beautiful young woman who had just started her career,’ adding, ‘there was a terrible accident, and we are mourning.’
Alexandra Black, 22, a graduate of Indiana State University, has been identified as the intern who was mauled to death by a lion
Zoo officials in North Carolina said that the lion, a male named Matthai (pictured above), was shot and killed after it escaped its enclosure and fatally attacked a worker.
Black’s heartbroken family said in a statement she died ‘following her passion’
Black, a native of New Palestine, Indiana, has been working as an intern at the Conservators Center in North Carolina for the past two weeks
Zoo officials said that a lion was shot and killed after the deadly attack.
Officials said several attempts were made to tranquilize the animal, but those failed, according to CBS News.
The animal was then shot and killed so that the attacked worker could be retrieved.
Black is a recent graduate of Indiana State University. She is from New Palestine, Indiana.
Black had been working at the Center for the past two weeks as an intern, her family said.
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Authorities are still investigating. The Conservators Center will remain closed until further notice.
‘The Conservators Center is devastated by the loss of a human life today,’ it said in a statement.
Several attempts were made to tranquilize Matthai (seen above) before he was fatally shot
Matthai, the lion, is described by the center as ‘more shy than his siblings Calvin, Katrina and Savik when it comes to visitors, but he is an enthusiastic recipient of attention from the people he knows best.’
‘He is a little nervous by nature, so he relies on cues from his bolder neighbors like Willow and Calvin when deciding how to react to new experiences like a person playing acoustic guitar nearby or if there is a loud noise nearby,’ according to a description of the lion on the Center’s web site.
The Center was founded in 1999 in Mebane. It was then relocated to its current location, a 45-acre, wooded lot in Caswell County.
It is home to more than 80 animals and 20 species, among them lions and tigers.
An estimated 16,000 people visit the Center each year. The public is invited to take walking tours.
The Center was created as an educational nonprofit which accepts animals rescued from ‘unacceptable conditions.’
Black’s family described her as ‘a beautiful young woman who had just started her career,’ adding, ‘there was a terrible accident, and we are mourning’
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