Connect to share and comment

California animal park reopens after a lion killed a woman

Cat Haven reopened to the public on Sunday after a lion killed intern Dianna Hanson.

Clone of Lion intern broken neck california Enlarge
Lion Joco lies in his enclosure at Zoopark in†Erfurt, Germany, on February 14, 2013. Cat Haven, the animal sanctuary where a 24-year-old intern was killed by an African lion, reopens to the public on Sunday. (AFP/Getty Images)

The California wildlife sanctuary where a lion killed a 24-year-old intern last week has reopened to the public on Sunday.

Cat Haven held a moment of silence at noon for Dianna Hanson, who was fatally attacked by a 550-pound male African lion on Wednesday, reports AP.

The sanctuary's founder Dale Anderson told AP that the park was reopening to the public so the staff could focus on caring for the remaining 29 wild cats.

"It's important that we attend to (the animals) health and well-being, and we believe returning to a state of normal operations is a part of that process," Anderson told NBC.

"Dianna would want the work that we are doing to continue and we are re-opening to the public with consent from Dianna's parents. Her passion for working with these animals was contagious."

Dianna Hanson died instantly after the 4-year-old male lion named Cous Cous escaped from his cage and pounced on her, fracturing her neck.

"The lion had been fed, the young woman was cleaning the large enclosure, and the lion was in the small cage. The gate of the cage was partially open, which allowed the lion to lift it up with his paw," Coroner David Hadden told CBS.

The lion was shot and killed after it could not be lured away from Dianna's body.

More from GlobalPost: Father of Dianna Hanson had a "premonition"

Hanson's family was supportive of Cat Haven's decision to reopen.

Wendy Debbas, president of Project Survival, read a letter Sunday from Dianna's mother, Donna Anderson.

"I am living every mother's worst nightmare in losing a cherished child," Anderson said in the letter, according to AP.

"It is my desire that they continue their mission in support of saving my daughter's beloved creatures. Her legacy will live on through the support of conservancies such as Project Survival's Cat Haven."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130310/california-animal-park-reopens-after-lion-killed