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Father of intern killed by lion in California had "premonition"

The father of an intern mauled to death by a lion said his 24-year-old daughter was never afraid of working with big cats.

Lion intern attacked california 2013Enlarge
Lion Joco lies in his enclosure at Zoopark in†Erfurt, Germany, on February 14, 2013. He was born with squinting eyes last year at the Hanover Zoo. (AFP/Getty Images)

The father of an intern who was mauled to death by a lion at a California wildlife sanctuary said it was his daughter's dream to work with big cats.

Paul Hanson, a Seattle area attorney, told ABC News that 24-year-old Dianna was "absolutely fearless" around lions and tigers, but as a father he held concerns. 

"Anybody who works with cats knows that they are wild animals and they can turn even on people closest to them. So I always had this horrible, nagging premonition that I would get a call like this," Hanson said.

He said he drove his daughter to the Project Survival's Cat Haven, near Fresno in California, on January 2 and recalled her excitement at landing the six-month internship.

"It was just a dream job for her," AP reported.

"Once there, she gave me the tour and showed me all the big cats there with which she would be working," he wrote in a statement on Facebook.

"Of course, Dianna being Dianna, her favorites were the tiger and the lion, Cous Cous, who killed her today."

Investigations are continuing into the attack which happened Wednesday when Dianna entered the lion's enclosure, AP reported.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Department said officers fatally shot the lion after the attack to get the animal away from the victim, NBC News reported.

"Upon arrival, deputies observed the victim, who appeared to be severely injured, inside the African lion enclosure with an adult male African lion," the statement said.

"Another employee had made several attempts to distract the lion away from the victim and into another enclosure prior to the deputy's arrival, but all attempts failed."

"Deputies shot and killed the lion to provide medical attention to the victim," the release continued.

She died at the scene.

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Dale Anderson, executive director of Cat Haven, was visibly upset as he read a statement to the media following the tragedy.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to our friend and her family at this trying time," Anderson said.

He did not answer any questions.

Another spokesperson for the sanctuary said the lion that killed the woman was an African male named Cous Cous.

The park was not open at the time. Investigations were continuing into the circumstances surrounding the attack.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130306/lion-kills-woman-intern-volunteer-california-sanctuary-